Tel Aviv-based defense equipment company ODF Optronics has signed an agreement to allow Remington Arms to exclusively sell its Eye Ball R1 product to the US Army in a deal worth at least $10 million over the next year.
The Eye Ball consists of a camera installed into a wireless spherical device that soldiers can throw, roll or drop into enemy positions, providing them with the visible intelligence they need before they attack.
Once deployed, the Eye Ball, which is about the size of a cricket ball, transmits live pictures and sound to a Personal Display Unit up to 200 meters away, and its near-infrared capability allows it to be used in day and night operations.
With the company due to make a net profit for the first time in its four-year history this year, ODF is considering a listing on Nasdaq and will make a decision at the end of the year, chief executive Ehud Gal said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
The company, which is part of the Wave Group, has about 30 employees and in 2004 it broke even on revenue of $5m., a figure that Gal expects to rise to $6m.-$10m. in 2005.
The deal with Remington is for 10 years and will bring in “tens of millions of dollars,” Gal predicted. It builds on a year-old deal between the companies under which Remington has been selling the Eye Ball to US law enforcement agencies, he added. Remington will also have exclusive distribution rights for an urban-warfare product that ODF plans to launch next year.
In addition to US security forces, the IDF and French and Singapore armies have bought the Eye Ball. Gal said demand is high, although he declined to provide details. It has been in development for three years but ODF has only been selling it for three months.
The device can be fitted with camouflage casings and is designed to absorb a few hundred Gs, and it has even survived the explosion of a stun grenade. One kit – which includes two Eye Balls, a training ball and a maintenance and accessories kit – costs approximately $6,000.
Gal said the agreement with Remington allowed ODF to concentrate on the development of its products rather than worrying about marketing and distribution.
“It’s easier for Americans to buy from Americans,” Gal added.