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U.S. Army invests US$22 million in next-generation thermal weapon sights

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October 15, 2005

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October 16, 2005 All objects emit infrared energy or heat, and this energy can be viewed with an infrared lens designed to create a thermogram, or picture, of the environment, regardless the amount of light. Although objects in a scene can be the same temperature, they often appear to be different temperatures, due to the way they emit infrared energy. Variations in the energy that objects emit create a detailed temperature map of a scene that easily can be interpreted by the viewer. Accordingly, it’s not surprising that the U.S. Army is investing US$22 million with thermal imaging specialists DRS technologies to produce next-generation Medium Weapon Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS II) for U.S. Marine Corps applications.

DRS received the new order from the U.S. Army's Communication-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command (CELCMC) in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, acting on behalf of Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier - Sensors and Lasers for the U.S. Marine Corps' MARCORPSYSCOM. The Medium TWS II will utilize the company's uncooled infrared technology. Work for this contract will be accomplished by the company's DRS Optronics facilities in Palm Bay and Melbourne, Florida, and DRS Infrared Technologies facility in Dallas, Texas. Product deliveries will commence in June 2006 and continue through May 2007.

This order is part of a competitively secured five-year contract awarded to DRS in March 2004. The contract has a base value of $118 million and a total value of $375 million, including options.

"DRS is an industry leader in uncooled, high-performance, thermal imaging systems, and the TWS is a cornerstone program in this core technology area," said Fred L. Marion, president of DRS's Surveillance & Reconnaissance Group. "The TWS is optimized to place increased lethality in the hands of individual war fighters, enhancing their survivability on the open and urban battlefields. This new order under the TWS program will contribute immediately to the military's current and future force objectives."

Using advanced microbolometer-based infrared technology, the DRS Medium TWS will provide Marine Corps forces and armament crews with greater range of threat detection and wider field of view at a reduced cost. These sights will better equip the war fighter to see the battlefield and more safely engage the enemy.

The Light, Medium and Heavy TWS produced by DRS will mount onto a variety of weapons, including M2, M240, M249 and MK19 machine guns, M4, M16 and M82 assault rifles, M24 and M82 Sniper Weapon Systems, M107 anti-materiel guns, M136 rocket launchers and M203 grenade launchers.

The Thermal Weapon Sights produced by DRS have broad application for various missions of U.S. military services, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Special Operations, in addition to the Marine Corps. The variety of DRS's uncooled infrared sensors ensures availability to allied international militaries, as well. The company's line of Light, Medium and Heavy TWS can be used for homeland defense initiatives, such as first responders and government customs and border control/protection agencies, in addition to private security companies, domestic law enforcement agencies, and for applications where the protection of high-value assets and critical infrastructure from terrorist threats are priorities.

DRS Technologies, headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, provides leading edge products and services to defense, government intelligence and commercial customers. Focused on defense technology, DRS develops and manufactures a broad range of mission critical systems. The company employs 6,000 people worldwide.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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