Significant advances in light-emitting diode (LED) technology in gunsights can greatly improve accuracy over increased distances by displaying key information about targets and surroundings within the eyepiece. David Haskett, products and sales manager with PRP Optoelectronics, speaks to Defence & Security Systems International about the company's new Micro-Display devices.
Please can you give us a brief rundown of the history of PRP Optoelectronics and explain what the company does?
David Haskett: Over the past 25 years, PRP has established itself as a manufacturer of top-quality optoelectronic avionic displays for the defence industry, becoming synonymous with extreme reliability, high-performance and excellent engineering. Its displays are now used in cockpits around the world and across a variety of platforms, including the F-16, F-22 and Eurofighter.
More recently, PRP has started to expand its customer base by introducing new optoelectronic products based on its proven LED technology. One of these new products is Micro-Display, which has been designed for integration within a variety of precision optical systems, including laser rangefinders, rifle scopes and grenade launchers.
Could you please provide a brief overview of Micro-Display?
It is a small, low-power electronic module with a high-density array of micro-LEDs. Each of these is 70µm-wide, with 30µm spacing in both directions, creating a 250dpi (dots per inch) array of individually addressable pixels that can be used to display any text or icon clearly and brightly under magnification.
How can Micro-Display help to improve aiming accuracy over increased distances?
Micro-Display projects important information in the eyepiece, ensuring that footsoldiers are able to receive it without having to remove their cheeks from their rifle stocks. Such information may include range, wind speed and a host of other live data that is relevant to the battlespace.
Micro-Display is the most advanced, low-power optoelectronics capability currently on the market and can dynamically project any text or icon into the eyepiece. PRP's micro-LED array technology can accurately illuminate any specific area of the eyepiece, clearly and brightly.
Micro-Display is manufactured using the same, proven technology platform as PRP's avionic displays. The subsequent economies of scale, coupled with the company's manufacturing experience, ensure that Micro-Display represents great value for manufacturers of rifle scopes and range finding equipment. Recognising that some customers require tailored engineering, PRP is able to develop custom Micro-Display modules that meet specific requirements.
How is the Micro-Display integrated within the optical systems that are already present within the rifle scope?
The light projected from the Micro-Display is bounced off a suitable reflector that is accurately located within the optical path of the scope.
What other products is PRP currently developing?
As part of its expansion into new markets, PRP is currently partnering with manufacturers of 2D and 3D printing systems to develop high-density LED print heads. The firm also produces a range of bespoke curing devices for the manufacturing industry and continues to supply a number of NATO-approved, high-performance cockpit displays, in tandem with a wide range of legacy displays to enable defence contractors to upgrade and maintain existing aircraft.