Defence News India: French defence and aerospace giant Thales has partnered with Kanpur based MKU for joint development of ELFIE Night Vision Device (NVD) for Indian armed forces which will be also offered to other militaries in the world, Thales said in a statement. The device will be ready in early this year and is expected to be available to the potential users in India and abroad by early next year.
The plan was announced by both the companies on the sidelines of India’s largest defence exhibition Defence Expo held in Lucknow, the capital of northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
“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,” said Pascale Sourisse, Senior Executive Vice President – International Development, Thales.
“With this, both companies have further solidified the MoU signed in 2018 for strategic co-operation on developing optronic devices,” Thales India said in a statement.
This co-operation involves co-development of these devices at MKU’s facility in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Elfie night vision device
According to the company, this lightweight monocular night vision device has the widest field of view and provides unprecedented 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,” said the French giant that showcased its prowess in the field of digital technologies at the prestigious defence exhibition.
“ELFIE is ideal for vehicle-driving and for paratroopers and special forces operators. When mounted on a weapon, it provides a red dot sight or laser pointer to the user.”
The company said integration of the first pre-series of ELFIE at MKU’s facility in Kanpur is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020 and the device that epitomizes the ‘Made in India’ policy will be available to users by early next year.
Boost for UP Defence Industrial Corridor
Thales said the versatile night vision device, which will be offered to the world military, will be produced in the Defence Industrial Corridor of Uttar Pradesh in partnership with MKU.
“The association will combine Thales’ expertise with the manufacturing abilities of MKU and boost local manufacturing for the defence industry,” said Neeraj Gupta, Managing Director of MKU Limited.
In the last several years, Kanpur based MKU Limited has emerged as a medium sized private defence company in the country, namely due to Modi government’s push for indigenization of defence sector with greater participation of private sector.
MKU Limited is currently executing an order to provide 158,279 ballistic helmets for the Indian Army and Navy.
“We will develop the entire supply chain and the devices will be manufactured to exacting international standards,” said Neeraj Gupta.
MKU said it has customer base in over 100 countries and modern manufacturing and test facilities for Electro-Optics in India that complies with JSS 55555 & MIL 810G standards.