Sofradir wins contract from supplier of defense systems

JUNE 8--Sofradir (Grenoble, France; www.sofradir.com), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared (IR) detectors, will deliver 200 of its Mercury long-wavelength infrared detectors for integration in thermal IR weapon sights by an undisclosed customer.

JUNE 8--Sofradir (Grenoble, France; www.sofradir.com), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared (IR) detectors, will deliver 200 of its Mercury long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) detectors for integration in thermal IR weapon sights by an undisclosed customer. Under the agreement, Sofradir will customize and deliver 100 IR detectors, then produce an additional 100 units. The customer is a worldwide supplier, and the contract is valued at more than 5 million euros.

Thermal infrared sights are used by the military for all-weather day or night viewing in air, naval, ground, homeland defense, and antiterror applications. "For this contract, we will customize the Mercury LWIR detector using some new technology, which will provide our customer's land forces with high-performance, top image quality for thermal IR sights," says Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO of Sofradir.

Sofradir was selected for this new contract because of its capacity to deliver volume quantities of long linear LWIR detectors based on mercury telluride cadmium (MCT) technology. Commenting on the market for IR detectors, Bensussan says that LWIR product line of IR detectors has become more competitive. "Our success in winning this contract demonstrates our technological leadership in the export market for delivering high-performance IR detectors," he added.

Sofradir, founded in 1986, has around 20%--25% of the world MCT second-generation detector market. Together with its subsidiary Ulis (specialists in uncooled IR detectors), Sofradir generated revenues of $90M in 2005. Sofradir directly exports more than 60% of its products. Customers include the US Army, Thales, Sagem, Selex, Alcatel Alenia Space, and the ESA (European Space Agency).

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