The US Army has awarded Leonardo DRS a $39.5 million contract to provide third-generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors for tactical sighting systems.

The capabilities will replace the existing Horizontal Technology Integration second-generation sensors throughout the army, including on Abrams main battle tanks and optionally manned fighting vehicles.

As part of the agreement, Leonardo will conduct a low-rate initial production of its third-generation FLIR Dewar Cooler Bench long-range sensors that convert infrared radiation into images and videos.

‘Most-Advanced Life-Saving Technology’

Developed exclusively by Leonardo, the FLIR Dewar Cooler Bench is expected to improve situational awareness by providing extended range and resolution for warfighters in all weather and battlefield conditions.

“We are proud to be the only company chosen to provide this next-generation technology that will help ensure our warfighters are using the most advanced lifesaving technology available today,” DRS Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems Senior Vice President and General Manager Jerry Hathaway explained.

“For the last 20 years, we have successfully provided our customer with the [Horizontal Technology Integration], the previous generation of this sensor, and this award positions DRS for multiple decades of sustained production while setting the stage to extend its position as the US Army’s premier supplier of ground combat vehicle sensors and sights.”

Leonardo’s Sensor Projects in UK

Leonardo and an MBDA-led team recently provided sensor upgrades for the UK’s DragonFire laser-directed energy weapon.

The first trial of the platform was conducted in November, with Leonardo providing the weapon’s laser beam director for the demonstration.

The test involved training machine learning algorithms in realistic environments and vehicles through the optical equipment and sensors developed by the companies.

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Leonardo and other industry partners have also begun collaborating with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to improve AI target recognition technologies.