Thermal Imaging Optics: Powering Defense EO Systems Excellence

The Ophir SWIR & NIR Imaging in Aerial Electro-Optical Systems

MKS Ophir's has developed the SWIR & NIR 25-250mm continuous zoom lens to answer the need for small pixel detectors with advantages for improved EOS accuracy, precision, and efficiency, especially in applications where visibility may be limited Feature Article by MKS-Ophir
MKS-Ophir application note SWIR & NIR imaging in aerial electro-optical systems
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MKS-Ophir’s application note, “SWIR & NIR Imaging in Aerial Electro-Optical Systems (EOS),” discusses the use of SWIR sensors in Aerial Electro-Optic Systems, development of the 25-250mm continuous zoom lens, and advantages of the SWIR & NIR energy band over visible and thermal imagers.


There is a debate as to whether innovative technology drives strategic operations or whether evolutionary operations drive strategic technological advances. Both are likely true and can be seen clearly in the use of short-wave infrared (SWIR) sensors in Aerial Electro-Optic Systems.

Aerial EOS demands versatile optics capable of operating across the full range of operational wavelengths. Recent battlefield experiences are driving these systems to be much more comprehensive while requiring smaller payloads to maximize on mission duration. From applications for high-speed and surveillance aircraft to large and small UAVs, these systems must navigate through challenging environments including poor visibility and detect, as well as decode, laser-pointers in the field.

SWIR sensors (typically defined in the 0.9-1.7mm wavelength regime) provide complementary capabilities to thermal (MWIR/LWIR) systems by excelling in lowlight conditions while offering the ability to capture images during daylight as well. Moreover, SWIR has also emerged as a powerful tool for laser applications and it offers a range of unique characteristics that have opened up new possibilities in advanced Aerial EOS products.

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Ophir has developed the 25 – 250mm continuous zoom lens to answer the need for small pixel detectors with advantages that contribute to improved EOS accuracy, precision, and efficiency, especially in applications where visibility may be limited.

The SWIR & NIR 25-250mm continuous zoom lens represents a paradigm shift in long-range detection and integration within small airborne systems. Its superior performance ensures clear and precise imaging in all weather conditions. By designing in low SWaP characteristics, it perfectly aligns with the needs of compact gimbal designs integrated into UAVs, aircraft, or any other low SWaP application. The lens’s apochromatic design, continuous zoom capability, and compatibility with various pixel pitches makes it the clear choice for high-performance SWIR imaging systems. 

Ophir’s legacy of delivering quality optical solutions is exemplified by the 25 – 250 mm SWIR & NIR lens with new standard for versatility and performance in aerial EO applications.

Read the full article, or find out more on Ophir’s website.

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Posted by Joseph Macey Connect & Contact