OIP – A Century of Science and Technology for Defense

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Founded 100 years ago in Ghent, Belgium’s Optique et Instruments de Précision (OIP) has evolved into one of Europe’s leading electro-optics centers, providing sensors and systems for defense, aerospace, homeland security and naval applications around the world.

Starting as a modest workshop, manufacturing high quality optical components, OIP quickly became a renowned supplier of optical lenses and objectives for military and medical precision systems such as binoculars and microscopes, becoming a major supplier of military hardware to the Belgian Army and NATO members.

Through the 1960s OIP has pioneered many technological breakthroughs, from the infrared sight display of the Starfighter jet, to fire control systems for the Leopard tank, and electro-optical instruments for satellites and space stations. The end of the Cold War opened new market opportunities for collaboration and technology exports, enabling the company to expand into holography, image intensification night vision and fiber optics.

Given its multi-disciplinary knowhow and extensive scientific and technical background, OIP also provides instruments and payloads for satellites, space stations and space-based experiments, supporting space exploration missions. 

Since the 1980s instruments developed by the company have embarked on missions around three planets - Earth, Venus and Mars.

Today OIP offers a complete range of systems for air, land and naval combat systems. One such system is the Sentinel 360° day/night panoramic observation system, enabling crews of armored fighting vehicles to operate safely under armor, while monitoring the vehicle’s surrounding. Comprised of six cameras mounted on the vehicle, Sentinel automatically monitors the vehicle’s surrounding and employs video motion detection to alert the crew on any suspicious activity around the vehicle.

After a century of progress OIP expands its activities beyond electro-optics. Responding to the growing demand for surveillance in civil and homeland security OIP provides sensors, intrusion detection, surveillance, command and control and turnkey solutions for coastal, border and transportation security.
Another unique activity is the Wise Intelligence Technology (WiT), a data processing platform providing information management and investigation infrastructure for intelligence organizations. Based on the company’s experience in information gathering, WiT elevates the user’s operational capability to utilize numerous tools and techniques to perform information discovery, analysis and visualization.

Under a recent cooperation with the Dutch naval company Damen, OIP introduces the MCM ToolBox, a technological breakthrough in maritime security, employing unmanned systems technology to safeguard the busy maritime waterways along the Belgian and Dutch coastline. OIP’s MCM ToolBox harnesses unmanned boats, underwater robots and pilotless, mini helicopters to search and destroy sea mines, a complex and hazardous task that up until now was handled by specialized manned boats. 
The use of unmanned vehicles enabled by OIP removes the risk to human life and dramatically accelerates counter-mine operations, rapidly clearing waterways to safe marine activity.

These achievements are the results of the joint efforts and commitment of hundreds of skilled employees, from dedicated technical and electronic engineers to talented optical experts. 

Over a century of dedication to precision, quality and support, OIP and its employees have mastered in optics, electro-optics, holography, opto-mechanical, electronic miniaturization, and system engineering. 
The legacy of the past 100 years with the talent, innovation and passion of its young workforce, positions OIP on the path leading Belgian defense technology into a second century of achievements.