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Airbus DS Optronics GmBH

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Airbus DS Optronics, formerly known as Carl Zeiss Optronics, was part of the Carl Zeiss Consumer Optics/Optronics business group until October 2012, when it was bought by EADS and became part of Airbus Defence and Space.

Carl Zeiss was founded in 1846 in Jena, Germany as a workshop for precision mechanics and optics.

The development of optics for military use began 120 years ago with the development of the first telescopic sight for the Prussian officer Lieutenant Carl Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay.

Soon afterwards, the development of a prism binocular telescope, a scissor telescope and a stereoscopic and split image rangefinder was begun. In 1899/1900 the percentage of revenues from military optics at Carl Zeiss reached 42 per cent, eight percent more than the revenue generated from the sale of microscopes.

In 1903 Carl Zeiss equipped the first German submarine ‘Forelle’ (‘Trout’) with a simple periscope which could be raised and lowered.

In 1964 a 694 nm ruby laser marks the first success in military laser rangefinders, followed by the Nd:YAG 1060 nm laser in 1965 and an eye-safe Nd:YAG laser and 1543 nm Raman cell in 1983.

Although our early-developed inceptive heat-seeking device, the Donau, dates back to 1944, large-scale production commenced much later. Over 10,000 WBG X thermal imagers designed for the Leopard 1, Leopard 2, Marder and Luchs armored vehicles were produced pursuant to the common module principle since the 1980s.

Be it for land, sea, air or space applications: when it comes to optical and optronic solutions, Airbus DS Optronics possesses impressive experience that can draw on over 120 years of tradition.