A Visimid longwave-IR imaging core. [Image: LightPath Tehcnologies]
The US-based optical and infrared components and systems firm LightPath Technologies announced on 27 September that its recently acquired Visimid Technologies subsidiary has been selected by Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control arm to “develop a key imaging technology” as part of a large US Army defense program.
Under the terms of the arrangement, Visimid and LightPath will receive up to US$7.5 million over three years to design and develop “a new electro-optical infrared solution” for the Army program as a Lockheed subcontractor, according to a LightPath press release announcing the deal. Further, should the system move beyond the design phase into actual production—a decision expected by 2028—LightPath expects “to deliver the complete subsystem and receive follow-on production orders for the duration of the program’s lifetime.”
An outcome of a recent acquisition
Headquartered in Orlando, FL, USA, with manufacturing facilities in Riga, Latvia, and Zhenjiang, China, LightPath designs and manufactures a variety of optical and IR components including lenses, thermal-imaging assemblies, fiber collimators and other products. The company’s target markets include industry, defense, telecom, medicine and other areas.
The Lockheed arrangement is one of the early tangible results of LightPath’s July 2023 acquisition of Visimid, an engineering and design firm involved in the thermal-imaging, night-vision and Internet of Things segments. A particular driver of the acquisition was Visimid’s expertise in designing custom thermal and night-vision imaging cores.
The Lockheed arrangement is one of the early tangible results of LightPath’s July 2023 acquisition of Visimid.
At the time of the acquisition in July, LightPath CEO Sam Rubin suggested that the imaging-core capability of Visimid was a good fit with LightPath’s own imaging product line, and would help the company extend “our capabilities in high-value defense applications” and other areas. Visimid also brought to the table “existing sales relationships with several key industrial and defense customers” expected to boost overall LightPath sales in those markets, according to the company.
Since 2020, LightPath has pursued a strategic realignment to morph from a pure components manufacturer to a developer of customized, value-added subsystems for fast-growing markets. Rubin sees the recent Lockheed contract as demonstrating the fruits of that realignment.
“This opportunity is a tremendous example of the potential of our strategy to pair cutting-edge optical system design, provided by Visimid, with the manufacturing capabilities of LightPath” he said. “And while the R&D funding is significant by itself, the production orders down the road is where our strategy will demonstrate the full impact of such activities.”