9 February 2012

Sofradir becomes top supplier of cooled MCT IR detectors for military applications

According to ‘The World Market for Military Infrared Imaging Detectors and Systems’ from market research firm Maxtech International Inc, Sofradir of Châtenay-Malabry, near Paris, France (which makes cooled infrared detectors for military, space and commercial applications) says that it has secured global market leadership, with more than 25% market share in volume for supplying second-generation mercury cadmium telluride (MCT/HgCdTe) IR detectors to the military and space markets (previously dominated by US suppliers).

Sofradir’s IR detectors are used in thermal imagers, missile seekers, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), such as those used by the French army in Afghanistan, other surveillance, targeting and homing infrared equipment, and spaceborne observation satellites. In particular, Sofradir’s critical scanning and staring arrays enable highly accurate detection and identification of threats and day/night surveillance. In 2011, Sofradir delivered 5000 units (up from the 4400 delivered in 2010), enabling Sofradir to eclipse its predecessor.

Compared to the manufacture of components in other industries, volumes for cooled MCT IR detectors may appear small. However, system integrators in the defense industry are well aware of the extreme complexity of producing cooled MCT IR detectors, with only a handful of IR manufacturers able to produce more than 2,000 units per year.

After making and selling IR detectors since 1986, Sofradir credits its increased market share to its longevity in meeting customer demands for cutting-edge and innovative products, and its capacity to run a safe and reliable production line and to anticipate market needs for new standards (such as the 15µm pitch). 

“It acknowledges the robustness of our business strategy and technological choices,” says chairman & CEO Philippe Bensussan about the ranking. “It is recognition that we have been carrying out the right analysis on the problems customer face and bringing them winning solutions,” he adds. “In addition, with the recent strengthening of our shareholder structure, new assets from Safran and Thales will broaden our IR technology portfolio.” At the end ofg January, Sofradir’s defense group shareholders Thales SA and Safran SA increased their shareholdings from 40% to 50% each, through the purchase of the 20% holding of nuclear energy group Areva.

Tags: Sofradir HgCdTe MCT IR detectors

Visit: www.sofradir.com

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