Thales and Safran sign optronics MoU
Thales and Safran have signed an optronics Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two companies form an equally-owned joint venture for optronics (electrooptical) systems and equipment. The announcement of the MoU was made on 20 December 2011.
The venture will see Thales and Safran combine their respective areas of expertise in optronics, and expand their offering of products and services to cover emerging needs for new defence systems, including both modernisation programmes and original equipment.
According to a joint statement, the new systems under consideration include the optronics pod for the modernised Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft, the imaging system for the upcoming French-British MALE (medium altitude, long endurance) drone, modular optronics systems for army land vehicles, and optronics for tomorrow's helicopters.
Through this partnership, Thales and Safran are aiming to strengthen the national technology base for infrared (IR) detectors, whose cost-effectiveness is a key to the competitiveness of optronic systems. They also intend to strengthen their jointly owned subsidiary Sofradir, in which each company has a 40% stake, to meet their own strategic needs, as well as to expand its presence in the open international market, which remains a key to ensuring the economic viability of this technology. Safran and Thales will eventually transfer to this new partnership the infrared detector technologies that they are currently developing within their own units.