High Performance Infrared Zoom Lenses for UAVs and Drones: Low-SWaP, Extended-Range, Ruggedized Lenses

Low-SWaP MWIR Lenses Released for Drone & Small Gimbal Applications

MKS Instruments’ new Ophir LightIR 10-135mm and 18-225mm MWIR f/3.6 lenses address the market shift toward smaller MWIR 10μm VGA FPA detectors By Caroline Rees / 05 May 2023
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MKS Instruments, Inc. has released the newest additions to its LightIR family of low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP), high-performance, motorized continuous zoom lenses. 

Introduced at SPIE Defense and Commercial Sensing 2023, the Ophir LightIR 10-135mm and 18-225mm MWIR f/3.6 lightweight, compact, thermal imaging lenses are optimized for smaller size VGA 10μm Focal Plane Array (FPA) IR detectors. 

The LightIR 10-135mm and 18-225mm MWIR f/3.6 lenses feature a compact design with reduced optical elements that significantly decreases the length and weight of the lens and, therefore, the overall size and weight of the optical system in which it is incorporated. The LightIR 10-135mm lens weighs 250gr, making it 20% smaller than similar lenses and the smallest continuous zoom lens currently on the market. The LightIR 18-225mm lens weighs 300gr.

With a detection range exceeding 11km (10-135mm lens) and 15km (18- 225mm lens), these new LightIR lenses are designed for the demanding requirements of SWaP and small gimbal thermal imaging applications, such as drones and tactical UAV IR cameras, as well as micro/mini-tactical payloads in the commercial, homeland security, and defense markets. 

Dr. Kobi Lasri, General Manager at Ophir Optics Group, said: “The LightIR 10-135mm and the 18-225mm f/3.6 zoom lenses address the new market shift to smaller form factors. The new zoom lenses combine low-SWaP capabilities, with long EFLs, a detection range over 15km, and cost-effective pricing for 10μm VGA IR sensors. This makes these lenses an enabler for advanced drone, UAV, and small gimbal thermal imaging applications.” 

With NFOV of 2.7° (10-135mm lens) and 1.6° (18-225mm lens), the innovative design of the Ophir LightIR 10-135mm and 18-225mm f/3.6 lenses enables near diffraction-limit performance in harsh environments. This design also addresses challenges such as line-of-sight stabilization, athermalization, maintaining focus throughout the entire zoom range, and high imaging performance. The mechanical and electrical interface of the lens assures easy integration into camera systems. 

To learn more, contact MKS-Ophir: Visit Website Send Message View Supplier Profile
Posted by Caroline Rees Caroline co-founded Unmanned Systems Technology and has been at the forefront of the business ever since. With a Masters Degree in marketing Caroline has her finger on the pulse of all things unmanned and is committed to showcasing the very latest in unmanned technical innovation. Connect & Contact