Carl Zeiss SA announces success in Belgium


The South African business of Carl Zeiss Optronics has won an order to supply up to four sophisticated LEO-III-HD Airborne Observation Systems to the Belgian Federal Police’s Air Support Unit.

The sensors will be fitted to their fleet of MD900 Explorer helicopters.

Carl Zeiss Optronics managing director Kobus Viljoen says the company won the tender following stringent evaluations which included flight tests and side-by-side ground tests against three major competitors,

He adds the initial contract is for two systems and support, with options for a further two systems up to 2011.

The Belgian Federal Police currently operate competitor systems as well as a LEO-II-

A3 system, which has notched up more than 3600 operating hours in the last three years and remains in daily use.

“The LEO-III-HD builds on the solid reputation of the trusted LEO-II range which remains in use with law enforcement agencies around the world,” Carl Zeiss adds in a news statement.

“The LEO-III-HD represents a step-change in law enforcement and homeland security observation capability and can simultaneously be equipped with up to nine high performance sensors. These sensors are designed and manufactured by Carl

Zeiss Optronics and feature exclusively Zeiss optics.

“Of particular interest is the system`s ability to read vehicle registration plates in complete darkness at altitudes up to 1500 feet, while the system`s on-board, real-time data processing capabilities provide unprecedented image enhancement options including image fusion.

“Both the daylight TV zoom and spotter cameras feature four focal plane arrays that offer the unique capability to view points of interest through the visible colour range up to the Near Infrared range. The modular design of the sensor pack offer customers optimum flexibility in choosing a system configuration ideally suited to their operational conditions and budgets.”

Based in Irene, South Africa, Carl Zeiss Optronics (Pty) Ltd is a member of the Carl Zeiss Group, with a 30% shareholding by SA state arsenal Denel.