Senior Optical Engineer
4d ago

The Opportunity

At Leonardo, we have a fantastic new opportunity for a Principal Optical Engineer. Leonardo is a global high-tech company and one of the key players in Aerospace, Defence and Security.

Headquartered in Italy, Leonardo has over 45,000 employees, of which 7,000 are based in the UK.

The successful candidate will join our world class Optical Engineering Team as a Principal Optical Engineer, where they will help the Team deliver leading-edge solutions into the global defence sector.

The extensive product range includes electro-optic targeting & surveillance, targeting lasers and high-energy laser delivery systems.

Each of these products are based upon sophisticated and complex optical design solutions created by our UK team and manufactured in our state of the art facilities in Essex and Edinburgh.

The primary base of work will be Essex with opportunities to work across other UK sites.

This position comes during an exciting period of technology development and business growth, resulting in real opportunities for continuous career development.

As an organisation that places great emphasis on personal development, you will receive on the job training with the opportunity to be upskilled to develop your skill set.

There is also opportunity to receive additional training through taught courses, subject to business needs.


  • Flexible working : We offer our employees the time and flexibility they need to enjoy a balanced life through flexible hours and part time options
  • Custom working : The role may be a mixture of home based and onsite
  • Flexible benefits : Our company-funded approach to flexible benefits allows employees to make choices appropriate for them.
  • Each employee has access to a wide choice of lifestyle, health and wellbeing options best suited to their individual lifestyle goals.

  • Network groups : To demonstrate our ongoing commitment to diversity & inclusion we have network groups for :
  • Carers (employees caring for families or friends)
  • Enable (supporting people with disabilities)
  • Equalise (development of a gender balanced workforce)
  • Pride (promoting equality for all LGBTQ+ individuals)
  • We also work in partnership with AFBE (Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers).
  • Training : Free access to Coursera which provides more than 4,000 online courses
  • Continuous Learning : You will be supported in your ongoing professional development though training and mentoring
  • Investors in People : We are proud recipients of the Investors in People Gold Award
  • Employee Assistance Programme : Providing free and confidential mental health support
  • Annual leave : We offer 25 days holiday, plus 8 bank holidays and 8 flexi days
  • To find out about all of our Company benefits please visit our website

    Take that next step in your professional career and join an organisation that takes great pride in their employees, implements successful development plans and offers a great work life balance.

    What you will do

  • The Principal Optical Engineer will be involved in the research, design, development and manufacture phases of the product lifecycle;
  • assuming responsibility for the delivery of all optical design aspects of a product whilst working within a multidisciplinary project team where they will collaborate closely with other domain experts.

    They champion rigorous Optical Engineering approaches and drive the delivery of robust and cost-effective design solutions.

    They are often required to liaise with the customer community and have regular interactions with the external supply chain.

    The Optical Engineer contributes to system architecture definition, specifies and develops lens designs, carries out analyses and performance simulations, supports the integration and test of systems, including fixture and tool design, and works closely with manufacturing colleagues and suppliers to ensure the delivery of high quality products.

    The Optical Engineer provides capability in modelling or designing imaging lenses and optical systems using appropriate commercial tools such as ZEMAX Opticstudio, ASAP, CodeV or equivalent.

    They provide practical skills in a laboratory and manufacturing environment; where required engage with external stakeholders including customers and suppliers.

    Principal Optical Engineers are expected to be able to work to their own initiative within a project team environment and demonstrate ownership of work packages.

    The successful candidate will ideally have experience in creating passively athermalised infrared imaging lenses that are steered about a field of regard while retaining a static camera core.

    It is desirable for the successful candidate to have some experience in novel infrared materials as well as a comprehensive understanding of conventional material properties.

    Security Clearance

    You must be eligible for full security clearance. For more information and guidance please visit :

    government / publications / united-kingdom-security-vetting-clearance-levels

    What we are looking for

  • in Physics or Opto-electronics (E)
  • or PhD in an applied optics field (D)
  • Extensive experience in an Optical Engineering related field, with a good grounding in classical imaging optics principles is required.
  • Experience of lens systems design within the Infrared spectrum is a distinct advantage.
  • A working knowledge of Lens design for Lasers would be beneficial.
  • Lens Design and Optical Analysis skills are an advantage as well as knowledge of the practical aspects of system alignment, integration and test.
  • An appreciation of (dynamic) Mechanical and Electrical designs associated with EO systems is beneficial whilst involvement in the manufacture of optical systems either in one-off or volume manufacture is a distinct advantage.
  • The role requires good interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • This vacancy may close at any time, if this role is of interest to you, we recommend you apply as soon as possible.

    Life at Leonardo

    Discover life at Leonardo a company for extraordinary people

    Our UK locations

    We have offices around the UK, including Basildon, Bristol, Edinburgh, Lincoln, Luton, Southampton and Yeovil

    Committed to Inclusion

    We are committed to creating a working environment that is designed to provide everyone with the opportunity to succeed.

    Meet our People

    Find out more about some of the individuals who make up our talented and diverse workforce

    Discover more about Leonardo

    Diversity at Leonardo

    At Leonardo, we choose inclusion and provide a workplace where everyone can be themselves

    Company Benefits

    No matter what your lifestyle choices, Leonardo offers a set of company benefits to suit every individual

    Investors in People

    We value our people for their skills, their experience and their perspective

    Flexible Working

    We recognise that one size does not fit all’ and so we offer a flexible working environment where everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential

    Skills Education

    Our STEM ambassadors are committed to inspiring the next generation of talented engineers

    Opportunities for the Military

    From veterans to reservists and cadets, Leonardo provides career opportunities for those who chose to serve our nation

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