Thales and defence company MKU have agreed to co-develop the ELFIE night vision device (NVD) for armed forces in India and the world.

Announced on the sidelines of DefExpo 2020, the development further solidifies the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the companies in 2018 with regard to strategic co-operation on developing optronic devices.

Under the latest agreement, the ELFIE devices will be co-developed at MKU’s facility located in Kanpur in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The first pre-series of ELFIE integration at the facility is slated for completion in the first half of this year.

Thales noted that a true model of the ‘Made in India’ ELFIE device is expected to be available next year.

Thales International Development senior executive vice-president Pascale Sourisse said: “We are enthusiastic about taking our strategic association forward with MKU with the co-development of ELFIE. This embodies the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

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“Coming up in the Defence Industrial Corridor of Uttar Pradesh, this versatile night vision device will be offered to the armed forces in India, as well as across the world.”

ELFIE is a lightweight monocular and has the widest field of view. It provides better mobility and night combat capability.

The device is ideal for vehicle drivers, paratroopers and special forces operators. It is suitable for left or right eye use and provides stereoscopic vision in a binocular configuration.

When mounted on a weapon, ELFIE provides a red dot sight or laser pointer.

MKU managing director Neeraj Gupta said: “This association will combine Thales’ expertise with the manufacturing abilities of MKU and boost local manufacturing for the defence industry. We will develop the entire supply chain and the devices will be manufactured to exacting international standards.”

Last month, Thales and its partners secured a contract amendment from the French defence procurement agency Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) on the SCORPION programme.