GEC-Marconi, a British defense contractor that has produced in Norcross infrared imaging equipment used to guide smart bombs in Operation Desert Storm is now applying that same technology to save lives.  In a joint venture with Cairns & Brother, a maker of firefighter helmets based in Clifton, N.J., the two companies have created an InfraRed Imaging System attached to  the helmets.

This innovation, which allows firefighters to see where there is no visibility due to smoke and lack of light, drew praise from Hon. Mark Lennox-Boyd, a member of the British parliament and under-secretary of state at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who personally tested one of the helmets while visiting Atlanta last week.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd toured the Southeast before joining Queen Elizabeth on a trip through the Caribbean.  At a ceremony held at GEC-Marconi’s North American headquarters on Northwoods Parkway,  he praised the company’s efforts to apply military technology to new commercial ends.

The event also was attended by William M. Broyles, president and CEO of GEC-Marconi, and Hank Kalbach, vice president, business management.

The U.S. Navy is expected to be one of the first customers for the new product, which will be available next month.  GEC-Marconi settled in the Atlanta area in the mid-1960’s when it collaborated with Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co. to build C-5 military cargo planes.

For more information about GEC-Marconi or the InfraRed Imaging System,  Peter Simmons, corporate information officer, may be reached by telephone at (404) 448-1947 or by fax at (404) 449-6128.