Sofradir announced today that it has secured the world market leadership with more than 25 per cent market share in volume for supplying second generation Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT/HgCdTe) infrared detectors to the military and space, according to “The World Market for Military Infrared Imaging Detectors and Systems” (Maxtech International, inc. 2012).
Sofradir’s infrared detectors are used in thermal imagers, missile seekers, Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), such as those used by the French army in Afghanistan, other surveillance, targeting and homing infrared equipment and spaceborne observation satellites. In 2011, Sofradir delivered 5,000 units. This is up from the 4,400 units it delivered in 2010, enabling Sofradir to tip the scales and eclipse its predecessor.
Compared to the manufacture of components in other industries, volumes for cooled MCT IR detectors may appear small. However, system integrators in the defense industry are well aware of the extreme complexity of producing cooled MCT IR detectors, with only a handful of IR manufacturers able to produce more than 2,000 units per year.
Sofradir credits its increased market share to its longevity in meeting customer demands for cutting edge and innovative products, its capacity to run a safe and reliable production line and to anticipate market needs for new standards, such as the 15 micron pitch.
Sofradir’s market achievement comes on the heels of an announcement by its defense group shareholders Thales SA and Safran SA that they have increased their shareholdings in Sofradir from 40 per cent to 50 per cent each, through the purchase of the 20 per cent holding from Areva, a nuclear energy group.