PARIS — Sagem and Thales July 18 formed Optrolead, an announced joint venture to develop and build future electro-optical defense equipment, the companies said in a common statement.
“The legal documents for the new entity were signed on July 18 by Philippe Petitcolin, chairman and CEO of Sagem, and Serge Adrian, chairman and CEO of Thales Optronique,” the companies said in a July 23 joint statement.
“We have taken an important step forward in consolidating and enhancing synergies within the French optronics industry,” Adrian said.
The signing follows a memorandum of understanding adopted in December to cooperate on future optronics work.
The Defense Ministry has for years pushed Safran, Sagem’s parent company, and Thales to consolidate activities in inertial navigation, onboard electricity and optronics to cut duplication of industrial efforts as budgets shrank.
Sagem and Thales partially yielded to that pressure by agreeing to cooperate on optronics but limited the deal to future programs, which may or may not be ordered. All current work remains in separate hands.
Among the future programs the companies are targeting are an optronics payload for a planned modernization of the French Navy Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft, a visual system for a planned Anglo-French medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV, and equipment for land combat vehicles and helicopters, the companies said.
“Optrolead is already capable of coordinating contracts directly with customers of Sagem and Thales,” Petitcolin said. “For example, the ATL2 upgrade program could well be the first concrete application for this new entity.”