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Top 10 Leading EO/IR System Manufacturers Worldwide, 2021

July 27, 2021 | Aerospace & Defense

An electro-optical infrared (EOIR) is an electric device powered by infrared and electro-optical sensors. The device is used to convert light into an electric signal. It is used in aircraft to monitor enemy aircraft by detecting light beams projected by the aerial vehicle. It transforms light beams into electrical signals and alerts pilots regarding the presence of foreign aircraft. It can also be used in helmets, ships, handheld detection devices, and others. It escalates the defense force's capabilities by detecting threats from long distances and harsh environments. Substantial development in the US aerospace sectors has led to the adoption of advanced detection tools.

For example, In February 2020, the US air force, alongside Collins Aerospace Systems and Lockheed Martin, completed testing a U-2 dragon fly reconnaissance airplane powered by EO/IR technology. After a successful testing phase, the US Air Force deployed these sensors on its aircraft because of their enhanced detection of threats in unfavorable environmental conditions. According to Fortune Business Insights™, the global market for electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) systems is anticipated to touch USD 20.36 billion by 2026. The rapid adoption of advanced sensors will elevate product sales for the forecast period.


COVID-19 Pandemic: Ease on Lockdown Regulations to Steadily Enrich Production Activities 

The COVID-19 outbreak has adversely affected the production activities of components used in the aerospace and defense sectors. However, the ease of lockdown regulations has opened several chances for the EO/IR system manufacturers. The companies are incorporating automated systems to enhance product quality and improve efficiency. Despite reduced capacity and part-time shifts, the companies can recover investments and strengthen their businesses. 


Fortune Business Insights™ highlights the top 10 players in the global market:

1. Lockheed Martin Corporation (America)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersLockheed Martin Corporation is an American aerospace and global security organization. It was founded in 1995 and headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, United States. The company is involved in developing, designing, manufacturing, and researching technologically advanced systems, services, and products. In September 2020, the company delivered the 700th electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) for F-35 Lightning II aircraft.


2. Raytheon Technologies Corporation (America)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersRaytheon Technologies is an American company that was founded in 1922. It is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. It is a global manufacturer of technologically advanced products and services to the aerospace and defense sectors. In April 2020, Raytheon Company and United Technologies Corporation (UTC) engaged in a merger to create Raytheon Technologies Corporation. In May 2020, Raytheon Technologies Corporation signed a contract with the U.S. Navy to fix their F/A-18 fighter bomber's electro-optical sensors. 


3. Leonardo S.p.A (Italy)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersLeonardo S.p.A is an Italian aerospace and defense company founded on 18th March 1948. Its headquarters is situated in Rome, Italy. The company is a worldwide provider of aerospace and defense solutions. It operates across helicopters, aeronautics, defense electronics & security, space, and other segments. In January 2021, a subsidiary of Leonardo S.p.A named Leonardo DRS entered into a multi-year contract of USD 600 million with the US Army. This contract would enable Leonardo DRS to provide the US army with mission equipment packages. It was processed under the maneuver-short range air defense (IM-SHORAD) plans. The equipment package includes EO/IR detection systems, 30mm M230 LF cannon, stinger missiles, and radar hellfire rockets.


4. Thales Group (France) 

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersThales Group is a French company that was founded on 6 December 2000. Its headquarters is located at La Défense, France. It is a global provider of state-of-the-art technology in the defense, transportation, space, and aerospace sectors. It functions across defense & security, transport, digital identity & security, and aerospace sectors. Thales group manufactured MIRADOR MK2 tracking, fire control, and surveillance systems. The product is a lightweight digital electro-optical system that is extremely compact. It is used for target tracking and observation purposes. 


5. Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersElbit Systems Ltd. is an Israel- based company that was founded in 1966. The company's headquarters is situated in Haifa, Israel. The company is a global manufacturer of detection systems for the commercial market, homeland security, and defense sectors. In February 2021, the company received a four and half year contract worth USD 82.0 million from BAE Systems Hägglunds AB. Elbit Systems Ltd. shall provide active protection and electro-optical commander sights to the Royal Netherlands Army as per the contract.


6. Northrop Grumman Corporation (America)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersNorthrop Grumman Corporation is an American defense and aerospace manufacturer founded in 1994. It is headquartered at Falls Church, Virginia, United States. It is a leading manufacturer of technologically advanced electro-optical infrared solutions across cyberspace, aerospace, space, and defense sectors. The company has focused heavily on the research and development of innovative and technologically advanced solutions. It operates heavily across defense systems, aeronautics systems, space systems, and mission systems. In June 2020, Northrop Grumman Corporation received a contract worth USD 151.3 million from US Air Force to supply them with aircraft infrared countermeasure (LAIRCM) support and systems. It simultaneously received a contract from the U.S. Navy for the supply of EO/IR sensors. 


7. L-3 Harris Technologies Inc. (America) 

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersL-3 Harris Technologies Inc. is an American company that was founded on 29th June 2019. The company is headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, United States. It is a global provider of EO/IR solutions to satisfy its consumer demands. The company offers advanced defense and aerospace detection technologies across space, land, cyber, and other areas. The company offers products for research and development, surveillance and reconnaissance, airborne observation, condition monitoring, and broadcast purposes. In December 2020, L-3 Harris Technologies Inc. received a contract from Armasuisse to provide the Swiss Armed Forces with approximately 100 WESCAM MX-RSTA EO/IR systems. 


8. General Dynamics Corporation (America)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersGeneral Dynamics Corporation is an American defense and aerospace company. It was founded on 21 February 1952 and headquartered in Reston, Virginia, United States. The company is a leading provider of services and products for business aviation, combat vehicles, weapon systems & munitions, ship repair & shipbuilding, and IT solutions. It operates across the aerospace, combat systems, mission systems, information technology, and marine system sectors. The Global Imaging Technologies divisions are focused on the manufacturing activities of a new product range comprising motion control products, optical systems, and high-performance EO/IR. These products enable the users to accomplish their tasks efficiently. 


9. BAE Systems plc (England)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersBAE Systems plc is an England based company that was founded on 30 November 1999. It is headquartered in Farnborough, United Kingdom. It is a major supplier of EO/IR technologies to the maritime, land, security, aerospace, and defense sectors. It operates across Cyber & Intelligence, Air and Maritime, and Electronic Systems. The company developed a sensor that can gather infrared and electro-optical signals across electromagnetic spectrums to complete the mission objective. 


10. Saab AB (Sweden)

Top 10 Leading EO/IR System ManufacturersSaab AB was founded in 1937 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. It is a Swedish aerospace and defense company that is a leading producer of defense and military equipment. It has a vast product range that includes research and development systems for end-users. In addition, the company is also focusing on developing EO/IR systems for UAVs.  


Written by Anirudh Rao

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