Optics 1 to move to Bedford headquarters
Optics 1, which produces advanced optical equipment primarily for the military, is moving its headquarters to Cooper Lane in Bedford. (BARBARA TAORMINA/Union Leader Correspondent)
The company designs and builds advanced optical systems and equipment, primarily for the U.S. military. Optics 1 will leave its home on Holt Avenue in Manchester and move in with its Swiss parent company, Vectronix, which has been manufacturing optical equipment for the defense and security industries for more than 25 years. While Optics 1 and Vectronix are separate companies, they both fall under the umbrella of the Safran Group, a Paris-based multinational conglomerate that specializes in aerospace, defense and security equipment and systems.
"Bedford is a fantastic community and we're thrilled to be here," said Optics 1 spokeswoman Karen Hoffman. "We're excited to be able to serve our customers, our state and our country."
"We're very happy they chose to locate in Bedford," said Town Planning Director Rick Sawyer. "We expect them to be here for a long, long time."
The size of Optic 1's new home base suggests the company has plans to stay and grow. The building, constructed and owned by Manchester-based Anagnost Companies, is set on 8.7 acres, has two floors and a partial third floor for long-distance equipment testing.
The Planning Board has approved a phase two addition that would add another 29,000 square feet of space and would be built when, and if, Optics 1 outgrows it current space.
Optics 1 was founded in 1987 by Robert Fischer, a California-based optical engineer, designer and former chief scientist for Hughes Aircraft. The Safran Group acquired the company, through Vectronix, in 2009 to pursue more opportunities in the U.S. market.
"We develop thermal and optical systems and subsystems," Hoffman says. "We also produce clip-on sights that produce thermal images."
Commercial drones are expected to evolve into a multibillion dollar industry. Although the FAA has limited approval for drones to the military and law enforcement agencies, energy companies surveying terrain, emergency responders searching for victims and farmers who want to track growing crops make up a short list of potential customers for the unmanned surveillance aircraft.
"Our big focus is thermal and optical equipment for the military," Hoffman said. "We ask them what they need, and that's what we develop."
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