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European defense initiative seeks photonics SMEs

18 Nov 2010

Consortium launches business roundtable initiative to bring innovative SMEs and large defense integrators closer together.

A new European business initiative is inviting photonics companies and major defense integrators to forge closer relationships in a bid to advance sensor technology for security and defense applications.

The Business Round Table for Photonics Sensors for Defense and Security has been set up by thirteen European photonics clusters and three major defense companies, and is actively soliciting involvement from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) specializing in photonics and more defense firms.

“The mission is to create business relationships between photonics SMEs who are leaders in sensor innovations, and technology integrators who are seeking specific capabilities for defense and security systems,” stated a release from the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), which is helping to co-ordinate the effort.

The three defense firms already involved include the multi-national missile systems company MBDA, as well as France-based SAGEM and Spain’s INDRA. Jean-Francois Coutris, the vice president of SAGEM Defense and Security, said of the new initiative: “SMEs are strong in technology innovation. They are both agile and inventive. We must facilitate the development of these SMEs, which are crucial to our competitive position.”

Defense systems integrators and photonics companies alike are invited to join the round table, which is expected to meet on a quarterly basis at different locations within Europe. SMEs will be invited to present innovations in sensor technology, while the defense firms will illustrate the needs of their sensing systems.

Any interested SMEs should contact their local photonics cluster, while defense companies should contact EPIC directly.

The thirteen photonics clusters already involved in the scheme are as follows:

• Anticipa (France)
• Cluster Photonique (Belgium)
• Estonian Photonics (Estonia)
• EPIC (Europe)
• Heinrich-Hertz Institute (Germany)
• OpticsValley (France)
• Optoelectronics Research Center (Finland)
• OptecBB (Germany)
• POP Sud (France)
• Rhenaphotonics Alsace (France)
• Route des Lasers (France)
• SECPHO (Spain)
• Swiss Laser Net (Switzerland)
• Scottish Optoelectronics Association (UK)
• Electronics, Sensors, Photonics KTN (UK)
• Wroclaw Photonics Cluster (Poland)

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