Optics 1’s farsightedness

US company Optics 1, acquired by Vectronix* in December 2009, adds invaluable expertise in portable optronics to Sagem (Safran).

Vectronix, a Swiss company that was acquired by Sagem in 2003, has considerably expanded its U.S. subsidiary Vectronix, Inc. in a drive to increase its share of the American market, including the construction of a production unit. But according to Vectronix CEO Jean Harter, "We were still missing local development and integration capabilities to consolidate our U.S. development. That's why we acquired Optics 1 Inc. in December 2009."
Located in California and New Hampshire, Optics 1 enjoys a solid reputation in the design, development and manufacture of electro-optical (optronics) systems. "We are capable of designing highly-integrated equipment," notes company Chairman and CEO Dane Hileman, "not only to meet the Pentagon's requirements, but also for optics used in commercial applications."

Innovative and responsive
With about 60 employees, Optics 1 could be considered a featherweight among the many contractors working for the Pentagon. But it has capitalized on this streamlined structure by offering quick responsiveness, flexibility and added value. "We can design systems and bring them to market multiple times faster as our competitors," says Dane Hileman. Already sharing the same area of excellence, namely portable optronics, Optics 1 and Vectronix, Inc. bolster their synergies through this link-up. As a proven technology incubator, Optics 1 offers an excellent fit with Vectronix, which contributes its outstanding production and sales organizations.

Success story
One of Optics 1's latest successes is the Clip On Thermal Imager (COTI), a lightweight thermal optics device (≤150 grams), that can be clipped on night vision goggles or sights already in service to increase performance. "There was no official requirement for this type of component," explains Dan Hileman. "But we offered it to the U.S. Special Forces, who immediately adopted it. There's a tremendous potential market, since more than two million NVGs are now in service worldwide."

* A Sagem subsidiary