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Rafale vendor Thales, MKU to jointly develop night vision device for army

The two companies have further strengthened the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2018 for strategic co-operation on developing optronic devices

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

File photo of Army commandos contingent marching at Rajpath | PTI

Rafale vendor Thales and Kanpur-based defence manufacturer MKU on Friday announced the co-development of the ELFIE Night Vision Device (NVD) for the armed forces in India and across the world.

With this announcement on sidelines of the ongoing DefExpo 2020 here, the two have further strengthened the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2018 for strategic co-operation on developing optronic devices. The collaboration involves co-development of these devices at MKU’s facility in Kanpur.

ELFIE is touted to provide mobility and night combat capability. Whether hands-free (on a face mask or helmet mount) or weapon-mounted, ELFIE is suitable for left or right eye use and provides stereoscopic vision in binocular configuration. It ELFIE is ideal for vehicle-driving and for paratroopers and special forces operators, a press communique said.

According to the two partners, the integration of the first pre-series of ELFIE at MKU’s facility in Kanpur is expected to be completed in the first trimester of 2020. A true model of the ‘Made in India’ ELFIE night vision device is expected to be available in the first trimester of 2021.

“We are enthusiastic about taking our strategic association forward with MKU with the co-development of ELFIE. This embodies the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Coming up in the Defence Industrial Corridor of Uttar Pradesh, this versatile night vision device will be offered to the armed forces in India as well as across the world,” Thales senior executive vice president (international development) Pascale Sourisse said.

Meanwhile, MKU managing director Neeraj Gupta noted the company was delighted about this partnership with a global technology leader like Thales. “This association will combine Thales’ expertise with the manufacturing abilities of MKU and boost local manufacturing for the defence industry. We will develop the entire supply chain and the devices will be manufactured to exacting international standards.”

MKU Limited is a leading defence company for soldier systems in India with a customer base in over 100 countries. Known for its capabilities of providing innovative protection and surveillance solutions, it operates state-of-the-art manufacturing and test facilities for Electro-Optics in India that complies to international standards.

It is already supplying night vision devices to Special Forces and state police forces in India and is participating in various tenders from the tri-services under the ministry of defence (MoD) etc.

First Published: Fri, February 07 2020. 17:37 IST