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Optical Systems Design Engineer


This is a Full-time position in Tierrasanta, CA posted June 8, 2021.

General Atomics (GA), and its affiliated companies, is one of the world?s leading resources for high-technology systems development ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to remotely piloted aircraft, airborne sensors, and advanced electric, electronic, wireless and laser technologies.

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) designs and manufactures first-of-a-kind electromagnetic and electric power generation systems. GA-EMS? expanding portfolio of specialized products and integrated system solutions support critical fleet, space systems and satellites, missile defense, power and energy, and process and monitoring applications for defense, industrial, and commercial customers worldwide.

We have an exciting opportunity for a Senior Optical Systems Architect/Engineer to join our Optical Technologies team located in Rancho Bernardo, CA. Will function in a Subject Matter Expert advisory and Individual Contributor roles while acting as a project lead or IPT lead, providing direction to a diverse and experienced professional staff. Will support Business Development in proposal generation for optical systems family of products and help craft a vision of GA-EMS product roadmap(s). Will be required to collaborate in a fast-paced multi-disciplined environment to rapidly synthesize holistic architectures and technical approaches to emerging missions and customers while leading technology development efforts via Independent Research and Development (IR&D) projects. In parallel, and at all times, coordinate with both external partners and internal stakeholders, and facilitate cross-communion and effective messaging.

Evaluates the integration of the engineering solution within the overall engineering environment; and ensures that appropriate documentation, testing, maintenance, and engineering updates completed. Communicates with engineering professionals, solution users, and management throughout the solution development cycle, represents the company as a prime technical contact on contracts and/or projects, interacts with senior external personnel on technical matters requiring coordination between the organizations, and participates in the development of new or expansion of existing business.


  • Develop optical systems, from architecture to detailed design with an emphasis on advanced sensors, including passive space-based optical sensor systems, weapon seekers, and ground/airborne active illumination systems to meet top-level performance requirements.
  • Develop Free-Space Optical Communication (FSOC) Systems, from architectures and performance analysis to detailed designs.
  • Provides focal point for technical communication within the Company management and may represent the Company as the prime technical contact to customers and/or government regulatory agencies.
  • Develops innovative but practical solutions to advanced technical problems in engineering.
  • Develop optical design solutions for imaging and optical communication systems using the combination of Zemax (preferred), in-house system design tools, or other commercial optical design tools (e.g. Code V, FRED, OSLO, ASAP).
  • Analyze optical system performance, including tolerance analyses and expected imaging performance over field angle and spectral bands.
  • Lead scattered light analysis on optical/laser systems.
  • Presents report(s) at engineering meetings, participates in program reviews and consults on problems.
  • Provides expert guidance and consulting to other staff members working on difficult engineering problems.
  • Anticipates future engineering needs and the modifications required to accomplish a technical goal.
  • Addresses complex and difficult technical issues requiring novel and highly creative approaches drawing on advanced engineering concepts.
  • May assume technical and engineering responsibility of the success of an identifiable project.
  • Directs activities of design or technical staff and may lead a team of moderately experienced professional staff.
  • Maintains the strict confidentiality of sensitive information.
  • Performs other duties as assigned or required.

We recognize and appreciate the value and contributions of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences and welcome all qualified individuals to apply.
Job Qualifications:

  • Typically requires a bachelors degree, masters degree or PhD in engineering or a related technical discipline from an accredited institution and progressive engineering experience as follows; twelve or more years of experience with a bachelors degree, ten or more years of experience with a masters degree, or seven or more years with a PhD. May substitute equivalent engineering experience in lieu of education.
  • Comfortable with navigating a dynamic work environment and distilling tractable and tangible goals from a potentially amorphous foundation.
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a DoD Security Clearance is required.
  • Demonstrated CAD and/or Zemax engineering experience is required.
  • Demonstrates an extensive technical expertise and application of engineering principles, concepts, theory, and practice with the ability to organize, plan, schedule, conduct, and coordinate workloads to meet established deadlines or milestones with some experience in project leadership.
  • Must possess the ability to understand new concepts quickly and apply them accurately throughout an evolving environment.
  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Strong communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills are required enabling an effective interface with other departments and/or professionals, and capable of representing the organization as a prime technical contact, as well as providing leadership and guidance to less experienced professionals.
  • Customer focused, formulates plans based on the development of innovative new designs in resolving advanced technical engineering problems.
  • Must be able to work both independently and in a team environment. Able to work extended hours as required.