Nashua, NH - Axsys Technologies, a publicly traded company that makes high-performance cameras and optics and is a longtime supplier to BAE Systems in Nashua and Merrimack, is opening a 67,000-square-foot expansion at 44 Simon St.
Axsys sited a 78,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at 24 Simon St. in Nashua a decade ago, and bought up smaller optics companies, such as the Billerica, Mass.-based DiOP. The expansion will double the plant size and bring its space up to 145,000 square feet.
Axsys Spokesman Jeff Nestel-Patt said the Nashua site has hired 100 employees so far this year, bringing its workforce up to 360 employees ,with more hires pending on contracts.
"It depends on winning new contracts and conditions of the marketplace," Nestel-Patt said. "The good news is as we grow, we have the capacity."
"The technology we're involved in has seen tremendous growth in the last three, four, five years," he said. The Nashua operation is part of the company's Surveillance Systems Group. The firm has its corporate headquarters in Connecticut.
Nestel-Patt said the company will move its program for gyro-stabilized camera systems used to mount on law enforcement helicopters from its Grass Valley, Calif., site to Nashua. Design and engineering work in Grass Valley will remain there.
New work in New Hampshire means new jobs here, too.
"It's going to be in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 jobs, and there's potential for growth there as well," Nestel-Patt said.
He said the choice to move jobs to New Hampshire "is partly because of the opportunity to leverage the workforce available here."
Axsys makes surveillance cameras, imaging systems and related motion control technologies for the Air Force's Global Hawk drone, and a high-definition gimbal mounted camera for the BBC. It is a longtime Original Equipment Manufacturer for contractors such as BAE Systems.
The expansion will also permit growth of existing programs in Nashua, including long-range infrared cameras, which the military can use to spot targets in the dark or bad weather.
Axsys has received U.S. Army orders including a $13.5 million order on May 12 and a $9.7 million order on Aug. 11 for Thermal Weapons Sight lenses; a $16.9 million contract on May 22 for the Common Remotely Operated Weapons System; and a $10.3 million order on Aug. 4 for Thermal Camera Systems.
Nestel-Patt said 70 percent of orders come from the government and 30 percent are commercial.
The official opening of the company's new space is Oct. 16 at 10:30 a.m., with state-of-the-art cameras on display. Axsys will donate an infrared camera to the Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit.
The opening will draw representatives from nine police departments, state officials with candidates for political office.
In 2007, Axsys (NASDAQ: AXYS) made about $16.8 million on revenues of $171.6 million, according to Google Finance.
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