MAXIMA Corporation recently demonstrated a long-wave infrared (LWIR) communication system operating in the 8-12 μm atmospheric transmission window. All the components necessary to make commercially competitive LWIR Free Space Optics (FSO) systems have now been demonstrated. These include a high power, solid state, LWIR Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL), and a high temperature/high speed detector based on HgCdZnTe (MCZT) with near Background-Limited Infrared Photodetection (BLIP) sensitivity. These components overcome the hurdles of cost, size, and reliability that have heretofore constrained the deployment of LWIR FSO systems. This opens the window to exploit the advantages LWIR demonstrates regarding reduced susceptibility to background solar radiation and superior penetration of atmospheric obscurants such as fog, smoke and dust, as compared to visible and short wavelength infrared (SWIR) systems.