Military Embedded Systems

Electro-optical/infrared systems on the rise in defense applications, say analysts


February 25, 2016

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. The increase in troops deploying with electro-optical/infrared (EOIR) systems in land, air, sea. and unmanned vehicles for missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), is driving innovation at the design level according to analysts at Frost & Sullivan. They are focusing on designing miniaturized EOIR systems that enable sufficient heat dissipation and meet industry standards, without hurting on performance.

An analysis from Frost & Sullivan titled "Electro-Optical/Infrared Systems - Technology Trends Impacting Military and Aerospace Sectors" details that technology developers are working on improving the resolution and range of inexpensive IR microbolometers, while cutting down the expense of high-performing cooled IR detectors. Popular applications of EOIR systems include target detection and surveillance, say Frost analysts.

“Enhancements in cost-effective cooling techniques will enable industry participants to lower the price of cooled thermal imaging cameras, which will encourage the proliferation of EOIR systems in the military and aerospace sectors,” says TechVision Research Analyst Jabez Mendelson. “Thermal imaging sensors are expected to greatly influence target detection and surveillance systems.”

The materials used in the development of detectors for thermal imaging cameras in EO systems play a crucial role in the performance of the sensors, according to a Frost release. The chemical composition of these materials influences the sensitivity of the sensors in EOIR systems and defines the spectral bands of the cooled and uncooled detectors in the EOIR systems.

“Due to the use of appropriate materials to develop key enabling technologies, there are plenty of opportunities for the expanded applications of EOIR sensors in the aerospace industry, including in unmanned aerial vehicles,” Mendelson says. “Cost reductions in advanced IR detectors and improvements in the resolution of low-end IR microbolometers will widen the application scope of EOIR sensors to include gas detection, pollution monitoring and thermal imaging in handheld electronic devices.”

Frost analysts say the U.S. is expected to lead the global military and aerospace market in the development of these next-generation EOIR systems, followed by the European Union. While, the Asia-Pacific region is likely to be the fastest adopter of these systems.

This Frost research covers the technology landscape, an assessment of EOIR applications, key enabling EOIR technologies, global trends and innovation indicators, application segments impacted, and technology and application roadmaps indicating the prospects of EOIR technology.

For more information on this report, visit For complimentary access to more information on this research, please visit:


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