An infrared search & track (IRST) system, also known as infrared sighting and tracking, is a method for detecting and tracking objects that emit infrared radiation such as jet aircraft and helicopters. IRST systems have an advantage over radar systems, as the former are passive devices and cannot be easily jammed. As a result, the actual tracking and engagement range of infrared search & track systems can be expected to be greater than radars. Moreover, IRST systems find their usage in a broad spectrum of surveillance applications ranging from civilian to military.
Infrared Search & Track (IRST) System vendors are placed into 4 categories based on their performance and reviews in each criterion: “visionary leaders,” “innovators,” “dynamic differentiators,” and “emerging companies".
Vendors who fall into this category receive high scores for most evaluation criteria. They have a strong and established product portfolio, and a very strong market presence. They provide mature and reputable products and services. They also have strong business strategies.
They are established vendors with very strong business strategies. However, they have a weaker product portfolio. They generally focus on a specific type of technology related to the product.
Innovators are vendors that have demonstrated substantial product innovations as compared to their competitors. They have a much focused product portfolio. However, they do not have very strong growth strategies for their overall business.
They are vendors with niche product offerings and are starting to gain their position in the market. They do not have strong business strategies as compared to other established vendors. They might be new entrants in the market and require more time before getting significant traction in the market. Defense is an important end user of the infrared search and track systems. IRST systems are used by fighter aircraft, naval platforms, and UAVs. The systems enable fighter aircraft to search, detect, track, classify, and prioritize multiple airborne targets under all aspects, look-up, look-down, and co-altitude conditions, and engage them at as long ranges as possible. Technological advancements in infrared search and track systems are contributing considerably to the growth of this segment. In civil, IRST systems are used for surveillance and monitoring of critical infrastructure, commercial airports, ports, and oil rigs, among others. Increasing threats to critical infrastructure and need to monitor them is an important factor leading to a rise in demand for IRST systems in civil sector. Various manufacturers such as Aselsan A.S. are manufacturing various mobile and static IRST systems for civil use.