WORKERS at hi-tech Hampshire electronics manufacturer SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems UK are celebrating the facility's 50th birthday.

Staff posed for a standard picture before one was taken with the cutting-edge thermal imaging equipment their highly skilled work makes possible.

Making some of the most advanced infra-red detection equipment in the world, the Southampton site has a turnover of £20m and employs 180 people.

The Second Avenue facility has been making infra-red detectors since 1956, when it was part of the Philips electronics empire. Subsequently it was sold to GEC Marconi before becoming part of BAE Systems.

It was sold to Italian owned defence giant Finmeccanica in 2005, with BAE retaining a 25 per cent stake.

The thermal imaging cameras are widely used by the military on planes such as the F16 and the Eurofighter Typhoon as well as on satellites orbiting the Earth.

Other users include the fire service, police and search and rescue teams.

SELEX Southampton general manager Jeremy Crouch said: "We have been making infra-red detectors here for 50 years and it is the skill of our staff that has enabled us to keep on making world leading technology.

"There are only a handful in the whole world that can do what we do.

"It is the edge they give us that allows us to have plans for growth in our business going forward."