Electro Optic Systems (EOS), an Australian defense contractor specializing in remotely controlled weapon systems, announced plans today to locate its flagship U.S. manufacturing facility in technology-focused Huntsville, creating as many as 100 jobs in the first year.
EOS executives joined Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield and local leaders for the announcement at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.
“EOS is very happy to have the opportunity to formally join the Huntsville community,” said Phil Coker, the company’s U.S. president. “Northern Alabama is an area of incredible people, outstanding institutions and immense potential, and we are thrilled to have the chance to establish a business in this area.”
EOS Defence System’s primary products are a family of Remote Weapon Stations, or RWS. In response to growing demand for these systems, the Hume, Australia-based company decided to expand RWS production to the United States.
It is outfitting a state-of-the-art production facility on Wall Triana Highway in Huntsville. The initial investment in the project is $2.5 million, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“EOS’ decision to locate its new manufacturing center in Alabama is a reflection of the state’s attractive business climate and its skilled workers, who prove their capabilities each and every day,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.
“Huntsville will make a great home for the company because Alabama’s ‘Rocket City’ offers every advantage a business needs to succeed.”
While the company plans to hire up to 100 full-time workers in the first year, it said it plans to expand the Alabama facility’s workforce to more than 200 employees with additional contracts.
Bob Greene, a group co-CEO and a founder of the EOS, said at the event today that the Huntsville facility will supply global customers and the U.S. military with the systems manufactured in Alabama.
Grant Sanderson, CEO of EOS’ Defence Systems Group, said Huntsville was selected over cities in Tucson and the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the facility.
“This is the right city for us, it’s the right place, it’s the right time,” he said at the announcement.
EOS has produced weapon system technology for more than 25 years. Its products incorporate advanced electro-optic applications based on EOS core technologies in software, lasers, electronics, gimbals, precision mechanisms and more. The company is a leader in the development and production of robotic or remotely controlled weapons systems.
“Huntsville serves as a critical hub for high-tech defense work, and that makes the city a smart choice for EOS as it develops a flagship U.S. manufacturing facility,” said Canfield, who has headed the Alabama Department of Commerce since 2011.
“We look forward to building a strong partnership with the company and seeing it grow both its business and its workforce in coming years.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said EOS, whose facility will have an annual payroll of $5.7 million once its workforce numbers 100, is a great addition to the city’s roster of high-tech and defense companies.
“The important thing to this community is that they are bringing in technology that is a springboard to our future,” he said.
With EOS joining shipbuilder Austal in Mobile, Alabama is now home to Australia’s two largest defense contractors.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.