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*July 24, 2006 – *Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) classified defense technology company BAE Systems’ infrared cameras as qualified anti-terrorism technology under the SAFETY Act.
Under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act, BAE Systems’ uncooled fixed-mount and handheld IR cameras became "approved products of homeland security," according to BAE Systems’ press release last week.
The cameras can detect heat and temperature differences up to a five-mile radius, making them ideal as surveillance cameras especially during the night. The fixed-mount PMC300TM (640x480 resolution) and LTC550TM (320x240) would primarily be used for parameter surveillance, and the handheld HH100TM and HHC could be used for law enforcement in the field, David Smialek, BAE Imaging Systems business development assistant manager.
"The infrared engine is the heart of the camera," said Smialek. The IR technology makes it possible "to see in total darkness," even through smoke, he said.
Since development in the 1990s, IR technology has helped firefighters navigate through smoke and now has broader homeland security applications such as U.S. boarder patrol and flight navigations.
The cameras, each worth $15,000 to $89,000, are available for the DHS but also to the general public who can afford it. "The technology is becoming more and more available," said Smialek, who anticipates the prices of the cameras to drop.
The IR technology, however, is export-controlled, making the BAE Systems cameras available to U.S. buyers.