FLIR Systems, the Portland, Ore.-based manufacturer of thermal imaging and stabilized camera systems, introduced a new low-cost thermal camera system, the EVS3, here at Heli-Expo 2007.
Designed for rotary- and fixed-wing applications, the environmentally sealed EVS3, costing less than $15,000, uses a high-resolution VOx (vanadium oxide) infrared detector to produce real-time thermal enhanced-vision imagery that can be displayed on multifunction or secondary aircraft displays that have auxiliary inputs. It is equipped with one of the industry’s most sensitive, uncooled focal plane arrays, according to the company.
FLIR Systems expects to begin deliveries of the unit in the spring or summer of this year.
The company is also showing versions of its Ultra 8000 stabilized thermal imaging systems here in Orlando. Late last month it announced a new model in this series, the 8000e, which is designed especially for the aerial location of escaping gas fumes. While threatening the environment, such emissions also endanger pipeline and processing plant safety and result in economic losses.
The U8000e combines 250-mm continuous-zoom optics with technology that detects alkanes, such as methane, and volatile organic compound emissions, making it easy for the operator to identify the source from the air. Though invisible to the naked eye, these gases appear as black smoke or fumes on the 8000e display.
Said Jim McGown, v-p of aviation at FLIR’s Commercial Vision Systems Division, “The Ultra 8000e gimbal can be installed on any helicopter or small fixed-wing aircraft. At just nine inches diameter and less than 30 pounds, it is easily moved from one aircraft to another. The matched thermal and daylight/low-light sensors on the 8000e deliver a very advanced and potent airborne tool for both fugitive emission detection and rights-of-way management.”
In early January, the company announced it had received a $26.4 million order from Bell Helicopter for its Brite Starr II stabilized multisensor systems. The order is for production units for the target acquisition sensor suite for Bell’s ARH-70, selected for the U.S. Army’s armed reconnaissance helicopter program. Deliveries of the Brite Starr II systems are expected to begin in the second half of this year.
FLIR Systems reported revenue of $575 million for 2006, an increase of 13 percent from the $508.6 million it generated in 2005. It expects net revenue for this year to be as high as $680 million. More than 40,000 FLIR imagers are in use worldwide in numerous applications.