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15 September 2014

Advanced Photonix awarded $1.6m contract for US Navy Missile Weapons program

Advanced Photonix Inc (API) of Ann Arbor, MI, USA (which designs and makes APD, PIN, and FILTRODE photodetectors, HSOR high-speed optical receivers, and T-Ray terahertz instrumentation) has received a contract worth about $1.6m from a leading military contractor that acts as a prime supplier for the US Navy's Guided Missile Weapon System. The contract is for a custom photodiode and is expected to be completed within the next 18 months, and payment is due upon shipment.

The Navy’s Guided Missile Weapon System is reckoned to be the world’s most modern ship self-defense weapon and has been designed to provide protection for ships of all sizes. The specific guided missile is a supersonic, light-weight, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget missile designed to destroy anti-ship missiles. Its autonomous dual-mode passive RF-to-infrared guidance design requires no shipboard support after the missile is launched, providing uniquely high-firepower capability for engaging multiple threats simultaneously.

“This vital missile program has been one of the Navy’s most reliable missile guided systems,” says API's president & CEO Richard Kurtz. “This is an ongoing program which we have been fortunate to have for the past 15 years and expect this program to continue into the future.”

The photodiode serves as a detector on the missile’s proximity sensor. Because the missile’s airframe rotates like a rifle bullet for greater accuracy, the system requires four detectors mounted 90 degrees away from each other. So, as the airframe rolls, there is always a detector sensing for proximity.

Ideally, the ship’s missile will strike the enemy’s incoming missile, but the proximity sensors are there to ensure that, if there is not a direct heads-on hit, the Navy’s missile will detonate as it passes by the incoming missile, protecting the fleet below.

The RIM-116 rolling airframe missile (RAM) is designed to destroy anti-ship cruise missiles and asymmetric air and surface threats. It was developed as a cooperative program between the USA and German governments and continues to be cooperatively produced and supported. Currently, there are two RIM-116 configurations. Block 1A (RIM-116B) is nearing completion of full-rate production. Block 2 (RIM-116C), for which API is supplying its photodiodes, is currently in low-rate initial production and undergoing developmental and operational testing.

In addition to missile guidance, API’s technology serves the military by providing components for heads-up displays, satellite positioning, laser range finders, and navigation.

In fiscal 2014, military and aerospace contracts generated $2.7m of API’s total revenue of $29m. The firm anticipates that this contract, along with the absence of government sequestration this fiscal year, will result in greater revenue from these customers.

The new project is part of API’s Optosolutions line of business that serves not only the military/aerospace industry but also customers in testing and measuring (T&M) as well as the medical market. In the T&M market, API technology is used in such diverse areas as water quality monitoring, the control of seed planting, safety monitoring, currency validation, counterfeit detection, and pyrometry (heat measurement at a distance). Among applications in the medical field are immunoassay testing, retina eye diagnostics, pulse oximetry and flow cytometry. The firm estimates that the total addressable market for its optoelectronics is roughly $150m annually.  

Tags: Advanced Photonix

Visit: www.advancedphotonix.com

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