It is a sub-set of disciplines including material science engineering, electronic engineering as well as electronics. Electro-optical as the name suggests operates by the propagation and interaction of light with a variety of tailored materials. They are used as components in the fabrication of defense systems to obtain enhanced situational awareness. Electro optic systems or infrared systems account for imaging technologies that are primarily used across various times of the day to provide an increased sense of safety. These systems can also be used in low-light situations. These technologies detect, generate, and measure radiation within the optical spectrum.
Electro optic systems comprise of infrared sensors as well as electro-optic sensors which are used to detect the changes in the environment according to which tactical decisions on the battlefield can be taken. An electro-optic sensor can change light into an electrical impulse which is then used to infer the situational changes across the area in question. Contrarily, infrared sensor functions on the principle of emitting IR to detect or identify various structures within their vicinity. EO / IR sensors are integrated across various land, naval as well as airborne platforms to boost asset security and increase personnel protection. Long-range imaging capabilities, as well as image stabilization, are noted to be some of the key features of EO / IR sensors.
The use of enhanced detection devices provides a sense of security to the person owing to which the soldier morale can improve considerably. Moreover, the capital investment made by various armies can also be curbed using this technology since it allows the fast detection of threats.
Some of the other key drivers for this market is the growth in technology transformation across key regional verticals. The use of imaging technologies in the security domain is poised to boost the demand for electro-optics systems. Increased border tensions and growth in terrorism are also poised to aid the market growth dynamics for electro-optic sensors. In terms of regional competitive mapping, North America is noted to be the largest market while APAC is considered to be the fastest-growing sector within the aerospace and defense electro-optics market.
Alternatively, the change in defense budget across global markets due to the pandemic is noted to be one of the key challenges to be overcome by the overall defense sector. On studying the overall geopolitical scenario, it is noted that the defense budget across several global markets took a hit because of the pandemic, owing to which the military procurement reduced between FY 2020 and FY 2021. The gradual economic recovery made by regional markets owing to the quick distribution of vaccines is poised to elevate defense spending during the forecast period.
On studying the overall electro optics systems market competition, it is noted that players like Thales, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon govern the electro-optic sensors vertical. Thales’s Mirador MK2 is noted to be a lightweight and compact electro-optic tracking system. The system can be used as surveillance, tracking as well as a fire-control device on integration across various platforms like long-range carriers as well as small petrol crafts. Technological features like carbon fiber shell structure and direct-drive servo system are incorporated into the MIRADOR fire control system. The MIRADOR MK2 makes use of EO systems sensors for optical surveillance and tracking. At the same time, the technology makes use of daylight HDTV cameras as well as IR cameras for tracking purposes solely.
Sources state that the F-35 Lightning II is also integrated with electro-optic sensors supplied by the OEM Lockheed Martin. The EOTS (Electro-Optic Targeting System) provides precision with respect to the surface to air and air to air missions. The EOTS technology enhances the pilot’s situational awareness and it allows aircrews to identify key areas of interest, perform reconnaissance as well as deliver laser and GPS-guided weapons with utmost precision. The sustainment cost per flight hour was reduced by Lockheed martin in September 2020 for the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) Window Panels and Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) for the F-35 Lightning II by 25 percent.