News Article

SCHOTT North America and Space Photonics, Inc. Sign Exclusive Licensing Agreement for Covert Communications Technology for RF-Denied Environments
Date: Oct 18, 2012
Source: Company Data ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Space Photonics Inc of Fayetteville, AR

Groundbreaking LaserFire® free space optical communication system technology to be manufactured for U.S. military and intelligence communities at SCHOTT's Lighting and Imaging Business Unit, Southbridge, MA

WASHINGTON, D.C.—October 18, 2012—Space Photonics Inc. and SCHOTT North America, Inc. today announced that they have entered into an exclusive licensing agreement for the commercialization of LaserFire® Free Space Optical Communications Systems for military and intelligence customers. The covert communications technology enables uninterrupted, secure communications— building-to-building, vehicle-to-vehicle, and tower-to-tower—where high-capacity fiber optic cable has been damaged or is not available, particularly in RF-denied environments.

Many free space optical communication systems use a large beam to maintain their links in order to accommodate for small mounting structure shifts. The LaserFire® system, however, incorporates a patented automated beam pointing, acquisition, and tracking (PAT) technique. This ensures a more robust network when optimal performance is critical, regardless of available band-width, distance, adverse weather conditions, or movement. Further, since the terminal uses low-power infrared lasers, it is nearly impossible for adversaries to detect and intercept the beam while the system is operating, providing the ultimate intelligent gateway and enabler for covert operations.

"This mission-critical communications technology was developed from our long-standing collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense. LaserFire® will dramatically improve communications in RF-constrained environments," said Chuck Chalfant, President and CEO of Space Photonics, Inc. "We chose SCHOTT as our manufacturing partner because of the company's unparalleled ability to industrialize and produce highly complex optics."

Space Photonics Inc., lauded for its outstanding leadership in the Small Business Innovation Research Program, recently completed development of the LaserFire® system under a four-year Air Force Research Lab Phase III contract. In selecting SCHOTT as the manufacturer and distributor of the LaserFire® system, Space Photonics secured an expert partner recognized in the defense community for delivering high-quality components for use in night vision goggles, lasers, advanced imaging fiber optics, and transparent armor window systems. The partnership between Space Photonics and SCHOTT will allow the companies to continue their mission of improving the reliability and effectiveness of military equipment for the Soldier.

"In the field, effective communication determines the fate of a mission. LaserFire® will ensure the safety of troops by offering a precise, secure, and dependable means of transmitting information," said Major General (Ret.) Scott Custer, USAF, President and CEO of SCHOTT Defense. "SCHOTT's Lighting and Imaging unit has a long history of developing superior technologies for the U.S. military and the warfighter. We are continuing that tradition by partnering with Space Photonics to produce the LaserFire®—a next-generation covert communications technology that will help protect the lives of U.S. servicemen and women around the world."

SCHOTT's Lighting and Imaging unit in Southbridge, Mass. will begin manufacturing the LaserFire® system in the fourth quarter of 2012.

About Space Photonics Inc.
Space Photonics develops markets and sells high reliability optical networking systems for military and aerospace applications. For over a decade, Space Photonics has provided innovative technologies and products to customers that have included the Air Force, Navy, NASA, and others. These products include their patented LaserFire® free space optical communications systems, radiation-hard FireFiber® fiber optic transceivers, and high capacity real-time FireRing® data handling networks.

About SCHOTT Defense
SCHOTT has been supplying the U.S. Defense market with advanced technologies for over 40 years. The company's product range, ready to serve the defense and security industries, includes fiber optics, optical and filter glasses, glass and glass-ceramic for armor and hermetic packages for protecting sensitive electronic components.