SAIC wins contract to provide LED flashlights

March 11, 2005
A US company is to supply the armed forces with LED flashlights for field evaluation.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has been awarded a contract to supply 800 high-performance LED-based flashlight prototypes to US forces deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The troops will conduct in-the-field experimental evaluation and feedback.

SAIC and SureFire, LLC, a leading manufacturer of tactical flashlights, have been collaborating for several years to develop new technologies that enhance flashlight performance. This project, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will experimentally evaluate the effectiveness of inserting a range of state-of-the-art optical technologies into these flashlights, while maintaining the same form factor that troops in the field are already using.

The prototypes will integrate SAIC's nonimaging optics, SureFire's flashlight manufacturing technology and Lumileds Lighting's high-brightness LEDs.

"The project's purpose is to rapidly bring to the field cutting-edge optical technology at the prototype level for experimental evaluation by the warfighter," said Doug Kirkpatrick, DARPA program manager.

The DARPA flashlights will provide exceptional high-intensity illumination and dimmable light output in a compact and ergonomic design. The flashlights will feature high-powered LEDs and hard-anodized, precision-machined aluminum construction with O-ring seals to provide resistance to moisture and dust.

The lenses are molded out of a tough, heat-resistant polymer, which can survive severe mechanical shock and large temperature variations. In addition to the main white-light dimmable output, the flashlights also will be capable of emitting red, green, blue and infrared light.

SAIC describes itself as a pioneer in nonimaging optics, and develops optical solutions for the collection, concentration and projection of light. SAIC's designs are optimized using the nonimaging concentrator synthesis software with the dynamic-synthesis global optimization method. These designs achieve extremely high light output, concentration and desired beam quality up to the thermodynamic limit.