AUSA, Washington DC: FLIR Systems’ president Jim Cannon has revealed that “the company now sees itself focused on four areas – sensor leadership, unmanned/autonomous systems, airborne ISR, and decision support.” He added that “FLIR is moving from a sensor house to an intelligence and decision support company.”

FLIR’s senior leadership discussed in some depth the programmes and changing direction of the company in its virtual presentation at AUSA 2020.

Primarily know for its past work on the leading edge of developing thermal imaging systems, particularly for the commercial industrial and public safety markets, it is becoming a major player in the defence world as well.

However Mark Stock, vice president Sensors, reflected that the company’s support to the Army’s Project Convergence “demonstrated the ability to not only detect and observe targets through thermal sensors, but to then classify and identify these targets, thus reducing the cognisant load on the soldier on the battlefield”.

The leaders also suggested that their company has been able to lever its commercial mindset to the advantage of its military customers.

  • Investing $20 million in independent research and development has fostered solutions that have been applied to applications in both markets.
  • The 30 gram Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Aerial System’s (UAS) tiny thermal camera was derived from work toward a cell phone camera.
  • Roger Well, vice president Unmanned & Integrated Solutions indicated that its autonomous vehicle driving efforts have been equally applied to commercial and military use.
  • Lastly, integrated capabilities are increasingly viewed as the way forward.

In this regard FLIR is part of Textron’s Ripsaw unmanned combat vehicle both within the platform as well as providing the R80D SkyRaider optionally tethered quad UAS (Shown in photo) which is already fielded by the US Marines to extend situational awareness.

by Stephen W. Miller