Press release

Sofradir grabs top spot as supplier of a key class of advanced infrared products to military and space

Sofradir grabs top spot as supplier of a key class of advanced infrared products to military and space.

Market report ranks European firm world n°1 for supplying the military with cooled MCT infrared detectors, critical scanning and staring arrays enabling highly accurate detection and identification of threats and day/night surveillance – a market till now dominated by US suppliers.

New market position won through Sofradir’s strength as a reliable, large volume producer of innovative, high performance, infrared detectors.

Châtenay-Malabry (near Paris), France, February 9, 2012--Sofradir, a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for military, space and industrial applications, announced today that it has secured the world market leadership with more than 25 per cent market share in volume for supplying 2nd 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 has been making and selling infrared detectors since 1986, so we are very proud to have climbed to the leading market position. It acknowledges the robustness of our business strategy and technological choices. It is recognition that we have been carrying out the right analysis on the problems customer face, and bringing them winning solutions. And, I’d like to express our gratitude to all of our customers for their continuous confidence in Sofradir,” said Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO of Sofradir. “In addition, with the recent strengthening of our shareholder structure, new assets from Safran and Thales will broaden our IR technology portfolio and this will further reinforce Sofradir’s world leadership position.”

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.

About Sofradir
Sofradir develops and manufactures advanced infrared (IR) detectors for military, space and commercial applications. It specializes in cooled IR detectors based on a sophisticated high performance technology, Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT), and its vast product portfolio of scanning and staring arrays covers the entire infrared spectrum. Sofradir also offers QWIP detectors developed in cooperation with Thales.

Sofradir\\\'s headquarters are located in Châtenay-Malabry, near Paris, France. Its manufacturing facilities and those of ULIS, its subsidiary that manufactures low-cost uncooled IR detectors, are located in Veurey-Voroize, near Grenoble, France. Sofradir EC, the company’s US subsidiary, operates in Fairfield, NJ. Sofradir, ULIS and Sofradir EC employ more than 550 people. The annual turnover in 2011 was EUR 150 million (approx. USD 200 million). For more information, visit


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