An optical communications receiver requires efficient and high-rate photon-counting capability so that the information from every photon, received at the aperture, is processed. This is particularly true in space platforms, where the information contained in every additional photon detected directly translates into lower system size, weight, and power (SWAP). To address this need, a near-infrared (NIR) high gain, low excess noise avalanche photodiode (APD) array will be developed for photon counting flight receivers. The proposed APD array technology is capable of a single photon detection efficiency (SPDE) greater than 50% at 100's Mhz count rate. It will be shown possible to discriminate photo-generated events from dark-initiated events, so that when the APD is configured with a low noise readout circuit, with sufficient bandwidth detection circuits, that low false alarm rates (FARs) can be achieved.