Photonis - Renowned Global Manufacturer of Electro-Optic Components

In this Defence Turkey interview, Mr. Abou Bakr MOURCHED, Photonis Regional Sales Manager Middle East and Africa, shares insight into the company’s long and successful path of expertise, their customer focus, R&D, Engineering and Program Management, as well as innovative new technologies and solutions

Issue 91 - May 2019

Defence Turkey: Can you please briefly introduce Photonis to our readers? Could you please provide some key facts about the company for our readers?  

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: Photonis is a high-tech organization experienced in innovating, developing, manufacturing, and selling photo sensor technologies since 1937. We operate internationally in several key areas:


Research Applications

Security & Surveillance

Space Exploration

Nuclear Instrumentation

Physics Research

Analytical Instruments


Industrial Applications

Our facilities are localized around the world; our headquarters are located in Merignac (France) and we have production facilities located in Brive-la-Gaillarde (France), Roden (The Netherlands), Sturbridge (United States of America) and Lancaster (United States of America). In these facilities our operators work daily on supplying our customers with a wide range of high-performance products, each supported by departments such as Research & Development (R&D), Engineering and Program Management.

Our R&D, Engineering and Program Management teams work every day on our current product line, as well as innovative new technologies and solutions. These developments are extremely important to ensure that we are providing our customers with the best products possible.

We treasure all of our relations and customers around the world. To serve them in the best possible way, our global Sales team answers all questions with support from our Business Development team, Back Office team and Marketing and Communications professionals. Due to the efforts of our global team we have sold to the special forces of all NATO-aligned countries, the professors of CERN, and have been a part of several space missions.

We are a global manufacturer of electro-optic components used in the detection and amplification of ions, electrons and photons. We are focused on mission critical components aimed at highly demanding customers. We innovate and engineer quality components for integration into a variety of applications such as night vision optics, digital cameras, mass spectrometry, physics research, space exploration and many others.

We design and manufacture in our facilities across the globe and work with our customers to continually improve and innovate our products. We are the most widely deployed night vision tube globally, lead the mass spectrometer detector market, and have products installed in most space telescopes and high energy physics experiments in laboratories around the world.

Defence Turkey: Photonis is prime contractor for NATO countries and its affiliates and is one of the world’s leading companies in the design and manufacture of state-of-the-art Image Intensifier Tubes for military, space and commercial applications. Can you elaborate on Photonis’ current night vision products, which are in use in all NATO countries and are largely deployed worldwide?  How many Armed Forces around the globe use your products?

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: Photonis is the world leader in the design and manufacturing of state-of-the-art Image Intensifier Tubes for the military. Night Vision has become a key opto-electronic technology in modern warfare as more and more combats take place by night. Photonis Night Vision products are in use at all NATO affiliates and are largely deployed worldwide. Photonis provides 3 kinds of image intensifier tubes XD4, XR-5 and 4G, whereas 4G is the current benchmark in Night Vision. 

Defence Turkey: Can you briefly inform our readers of the major local and international programs that are keeping Photonis busy these days? 

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: Photonis works worldwide so we are involved in numerous international projects in the role of an image intensification technology provider. Many times, this information is confidential and/or sensitive, but we can mention 2 of the current major programs in NATO countries:

16mm binocular program in Germany 4000 systems (2 tubes each so 8000 tubes in total)

German Army driver goggles 4000 systems (2 tubes per system so 8000 tubes in total)

Defence Turkey: What do you see as the strong points of your Image Intensifier Tubes and how do they differ from their competitors in the defence market?

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: The 16mm Image Intensifier Tube by Photonis was designed to meet the new SWaP (Size, Weight and Performance) requirements of modern armies:

Reduced size (by 40%)

Reduced weight (by 35 grams)

Minimum power consumption

While keeping state of the art performance

The 4G Image Intensifier Tube by Photonis exist in both 16mm and 18mm

Smallest halo

Ultra-fast ATG

Extended bandwith

Better Detection, Reconnaissance and Identification (DRI)

Defence Turkey: What could you tell us about the current technology being used in the field of Image Intensifier Tubes in the global Night Vision market? 

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: Currently, there are 2 types of technology to provide image intensifier tubes, but you should look at this as driving either a car running on petrol or gasoline. Both will bring you to your destination and it just says something about  the way and how things are being created. It says nothing about performance and that is what counts when you are an operator in the field. 

Defence Turkey: A few years ago, Photonis launched 4G Technology. How is this technology different from Gen 3 Technology; is it available for export, and is it ITAR-Free?

Best DRI available 

Smallest halo 

Ultra fast ATG

Extended bandwith

It is the technology selected by most Tier 1 NATO SF and yes, it is ITAR Free. It is available for export to Turkey while it is a NATO country. 

Defence Turkey: What about the modernization of the existing night vision systems that currently use Gen 2 and Gen 3 technology image intensifier tubes? Can they be upgraded with 4G Technology?

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: All systems (NVDs/NVGs) can be fitted/upgraded with 4G technology tubes and it is a very simple operation requiring very little time and equipment. The tubes manufactured are an industry standard. 

Defence Turkey: How is Photonis night vision technology contributing to the modernization of the Turkish Armed and Security Forces?

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: By supplying tubes to the Turkish Armed and Security forces, Photonis provides them the opportunity to align with the latest standard of Night Vision Technology. 4G is the technology most preferred by Tier 1 NATO SF over the last few years.

Defence Turkey: How would you position Photonis in the Turkish market? Can you summarize Photonis’ involvement in Turkey over the last decades? 

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: Photonis has been working with the major Turkish Optronics companies by supplying image intensifier tubes and digital camera cores for both local and export purposes. 

Defence Turkey: Does Photonis have an in-country partner in Turkey to help manufacture night vision systems/googles? If yes, does your partner also provide in-country maintenance service when the image intensifier tubes need to be repaired?

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: Photonis is working with major Turkish based Optronics companies manufacturing all types of night vision systems and are also capable of providing in-country maintenance for the night vision devices.

Defence Turkey: Would you like to add anything by way of a message to the participants and visitors to IDEF ‘19?  

Abou Bakr MOURCHED: Photonis is more than happy to organize a night vision demonstration for the armed forces to experience 4G for themselves. More information can be shared with our visitors at the stand at IDEF – Hall 2 stand 223E