European Security & Defence: THEON Sensors, “modern Greek wonder”

Out of Athens, Greece, THEON SENSORS has stirred up the world market for night-vision and thermal imaging devices in the past few years, setting new standards and taking the global lead in its field.

SOURCE: EUROPEAN SECURITY & DEFENCE

While the company started with a handful of people in 1997 serving the Greek market only, THEON SENSORS is today a dominant global force with more than 100,000 systems in operations or under contract in more than 50 countries around the world.

The early years
THEON SENSORS started early to adopt an extrovert business outlook with its first international contract award in 2004 for the supply of night driver viewers to the Australian Armed Forces.

Additional export contracts followed while the breakthrough into the “premier league” of the international night vision market happened in 2010 when THEON SENSORS, unexpected by its global competitors, won a public tender for the supply of night vision monoculars to the Swedish Armed Forces.

This contract was indeed a turning point for the company, where in recognition of the outstanding system quality and performance as well as the exceptional customer support, the Swedish Army placed orders of close to 15,000 systems over the five year contract period – much more than initially planned!

While this was followed by major scuccess in other European countries, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, THEON SENSORS expanded its global reach and sales volume through the establishment of two subsidiaries in Singapore and the UAE, while entering in co-production partnerships with in various Asian countries.

The success story of the THEON SENSORS NYX night vision binocular
In 2013, THEON SENSORS launched the NYX night vision binocular in respond to the apparent global trend of many end users to switch from monocular or bi-ocular to binocular systems. After a series of smaller contracts, THEON SENSORS continued its success with two breakthrough contracts for the NYX for the German Army and the German Special Forces KSK.

In cooperation with the KSK, the NYX binocular underwent an 18 month acceptance test period during which the system was tested in artic, desert and jungle environments, which resulted in various upgrades and suggested by the KSK modifications of the goggle.

The result of this “osmosis” between “Greek talent & entrepreneurship” and “German industrial DNA” was the all new upgraded NYX which provides outstanding optical performance at low weight but without compromising system robustness or ergonomics.

The “new NYX“ continued its international success with contracts in Poland, Latvia, Portugal and Austria while THEON SENSORS’ partner SAFRAN-Vectronix received the contract award from the Swiss Army for the supply of 8,385 NYX night vision binoculars, which will be locally assembled by SAFRAN-Vectronix starting in 2020.

In support of its European activities, THEON SENSORS also established its German subsidiary “Theon Deutschland” in spring 2019, which was awarded its first contract for the supply of night vision clip on systems to the German Armed Forces in December of the same year!

Entering the US Market
In parallel to its European campaigns for the NYX night vision binocular, THEON SENSORS signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2016 with the renowned night vision tube and system manufacturer HARRIS in the USA, which was recently acquired by Elbit Systems of America (ESA).

This agreement provides HARRIS/ESA the rights to market and locally assemble the NYX night vision binocular for the US market under the designation F5032, using US 3rd Gen image intensifier tubes.

In summer 2019, Harris/ESA prevailed with the all new F5032 over all competitors, winning a 5 year IDIQ contract for a minimum of 14,000 goggles for the US Marine Corps.

Interestingly enough, the F5032 (and thus indirectly the NYX) received the US designation PVS-31B, thus succeeding the L3 PVS-31A as long term standard and presumed world’s best night-vision goggle of its class. In March 2020, ΤΗΕΟΝ SENSORS then opened its new US subsidiary further expanding its global reach.

The future in sight
The story of THEON SENSORS can indeed be described as a modern Greek wonder with a persistent vision of forging strong international partnerships. As such THEON SENSORS is on the road to become a true European Defense Industry Champion!