From uncooled to cooled, FLIR sensor technology builds on soldier solutions

WILSONVILLE, Ore.—FLIR Systems in Wilsonville, Ore., is launching a pair of uncooled infrared sensors that will give soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen and law enforcement a low-cost, lightweight, high-performance sensor that can be either handheld or mounted as an infrared weapon sight.

The two Recon M monocular systems, in two performance ranges, each weigh less than 14 ounces, have a 3-hour run time, and zoom to 4X while providing 500 meters of human detect range.

Recon M has a high-resolution, large-format, long-wave VOx microbolometer that delivers range performance and image quality, as well as image and video options that enable the user to configure sensor to mission requirements.

FLIR's STACE image enhancement technology provides image quality enhancements via spatial edge and dynamic range enhancement; auto gain and level control, which automatically provides optimized imagery; and multi-use capability so that it can be configured for handheld, tripod mount, or helmet mount.

The handheld sensors are part of a long-term FLIR strategy to develop soldier solutions that extend from long-range, cooled thermal and image intensified (I2) binoculars and sniper sights, to tactical sights that can be affixed to a range of weapon types.

"These soldier sensors are small—pocket scopes—that can be used for surveillance and reconnaissance," explains Bill Sundermeier, president of FLIR Government Systems. "They will be inexpensive so that they will be accessible to individual soldiers and unit leaders. They'll keep them in their pocket or velcro them to their web gear. They'll be able to use them as a handheld night sight, and also clip them onto their weapon to use as a weapon sight."

FLIR Systems has an advantage in the large volumes of detectors and optic devices the company manufactures. The majority of these detectors go into commercial industries like automotive, where standards for shock, vibration, and temperature far outstrip any mil-specs for thermal sensors.

"The two real cost components of an uncooled sensor are the detector and the optics, and we design and manufacture both of those inside our own company, so we have access to much lower-cost components than anybody else," Sundermeier says.

Over the past year, FLIR has offered cooled and uncooled thermal rifle sights, each of which has benefits and tradeoffs. The detector and the optics are the guts of the matter. Uncooled systems are inherently less sensitive, but potentially much lighter in weight with less power consumption than cooled systems.

To put it another way, cooled systems are for long-range performance, despite the added weight and power of a cryogenic detector cooler, due to their greater sensitivity and ability to use longer-range optics. Uncooled systems are better suited for shorter range applications where lightweight and low-power trump sensitivity considerations.

"Uncooled is better for short-range performance, in terms of those overall tradeoffs," Sundermeier explains. "If what I'm doing is driving a vehicle down the road I don't have to see far. But I do want a wide field of view. So for a sensor that needs a fairly wide field of view and a fairly short range performance, uncooled is great and also inexpensive enough to put on a vehicle.

"Conversely, if I really need to see a long way then I'm talking narrow fields of view and long focal lengths, and I really want to go cooled because my detector is so much more sensitive," Sundermeier continues. "I can live with these less sensitive optics and really reach out and touch somebody, and also package it in a reasonable size."

Is it impossible to make a man-portable handheld cooled sensor or sniper sight? "Absolutely not," Sundermeier says. "Products like our Recon III are available, which is cooled, has long battery life, long-range performance, and is light enough to be handheld, relative to other cooled systems."

For more information, visit FLIR Systems online at

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles 

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XCalibur1645 | Freescale Eight-Core P4080 Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur1645 is a high-performance, 6U VPX, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ ...

XPedite7574 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7574 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XCalibur5090 | Dual Virtex-7 Based Digital Signal Processing 6U LRM FPGA with Quad 2500 MSPS DAC and 3200 MSPS ADC

The XCalibur5090 is a high-performance, reconfigurable, conduction-cooled 6U LRM module based on ...

ScanFaker DRSii - Networked Radar Simulator

High resolution radar stimulator supporting analog and LAN output. Resolution down to 1m is possi...

S & C Dual-Band Omni Antennas

SWA Dual-Band Omni Antennas are designed to cover the S & C bands, and are available with multipl...

Body Worn Antennas

Body Worn Antennas from SWA are ideal for covert surveillance applications where the radio and an...

4G LTE Cellular Omni Concealment Antenna

The 4G LTE Cellular Omni Concealment Antenna from Southwest Antennas measures only 4.70" x 1.70" ...

Ultra-Flex Omni Antennas

The Southwest Antennas Ultra-Flex is a line of S-Band & C-Band omni antennas with a unique enviro...


Four-Slot, Military Style I/O Chassis with Military/Rugged 38999 connectivity, 100% COTS solution...

FLATRACK™ Ethernet I/O DAQ Platform

FLATRACK™ Ethernet I/O DAQ Platform accommodates installation of up to four I/O boards, completes...

Related Companies


Is a mechanical engineering consulting company headquartered in Los Angeles, CA with operations in Billerica, MA, pro...

Dspnor AS

Offers radar signal processing and distribution. The products interface to virtually any radar system in use today. T...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...


PALMARII Dynamics is a Swedish company incorporated in 2012 as a competence centre for specialist naval architecture ...


Pelorus Naval Systems is a specialist naval defense engineering and support services company with headquarters in Ran...

Southwest Antennas

Southwest Antennas designs and manufactures high-performance RF & Microwave antennas and accessories designed for tod...

CORWIL Technology Corp

CORWIL Technology, the premier US based, IC assembly and test services subcontractor, offering full back-end assembly...


IndustryARC primarily focuses on Cutting Edge Technologies and Newer Applications of the Market. Our Custom Research ...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

RPMC Lasers Inc

Offers 1500 DPSS lasers, lamp lasers, fiber lasers and diode lasers. Provides, ultrafast, picosecond, nanosecond, cw ...


Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles