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Principal System Engineer – Flight Avionics

Job ID: R0103636 Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States of America
Full time, Regular Employment
Location: Arlington, United States of America

Thales people architect solutions that enable two-thirds of planes to take off and land safely. We create in-flight entertainment systems that engross 50 million fliers every year and we develop the avionics that control the world’s largest commercial aircrafts. Our simulators train the next generation of pilots for fighter jets, transporters and search and rescue helicopters. And, together, each and every member of our aerospace team makes a difference.


Knowing what Thales does today, means asking where technology is taking us tomorrow. We are creating the waves of digital transformation that will cary our customers into the future. Where these transformations intersect and interfere is where the most interesting and innovative tomorrows are being built. Thales operates at the intersection of these technologies to find every tomorrow.

We are currently looking for a Principal Systems Engineer to join Thales Flight Avionics team to be located in Arlington, VA or other Thales site throughout the US. This team is responsible for the growth of the defense and civil business in the USA for both fixed wing and rotorcraft markets, including pre-bid phase, RFXs response, the design of the solution and the integration and certification of the system in the aircraft.

Initially assuming technical support of the business development team and leveraging the expertise of Thales center of competence in France, the Senior System Engineer will be responsible for the technical system/components solutions proposed to various customers. The candidate will follow the conception and the evolution of avionics equipment/systems offered by Thales. He/She will also be involved in bids including the response to requests for proposal, and will participate in the design & the validation of the proposed solution. Finally, the candidate will be a key element in the development of new customers /markets and help to grow Thales activities in the USA. This role will involve several interactions with customers and will have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and business growth.

Transitioning to the project development phase, the candidate will be responsible for system-engineering activities from the definition of Incremental Modular Avionics system architectures, including the navigation & mission systems.  The incumbent will remain actively involved throughout the entire development cycle from the conception, the validation and verification, up to the certification or final delivery of the system or subsystem components. The candidate will also be responsible for providing direction, coordination, and control on assigned systems projects, including management of specific work packages for quality, scope, and schedule in accordance with established systems engineering process (i.e. traditional Project Engineering activities).

This position requires detailed knowledge of avionics design activities along with excellent project and team management skills. Ultimately, the goal is to develop an autonomous avionics engineering team in the USA.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Design system architectures and innovative solutions that meet customer requirements, in response to requests for proposals and during the development programs;

  • Specify the system level functionality for equipment and perform the analysis necessary to validate the designs;

  • Ensure standardization and solutions reuse in the framework defined by Thales technical strategy;

  • Plan and prepare estimates for engineering activities;

  • Represent Thales in specific technical working groups and influence final design to position Thales and increase its chances to win;

  • Define the system development cycle, tailor the system engineering process, practices and tools;

  • Optimize technical work against schedule, risks and opportunities;

  • Perform coordination with suppliers and overview suppliers’ work for the design and changes to electronic equipment;

  • Ensure development activities are meeting the customer’s technical and performance requirements;

  • Ensure the equipment and systems developed by Thales and its suppliers meet the certification authorities requirements and prepare reports to demonstrate it (DO-254, DO178, ARP4754a and FACE & other MIL-STD);

  • Be an active part in the new business development activities of Thales and help develop new markets;

  • Coordination with Future Vertical Lift business capture teams to ensure timely response with USG, key partners, and other stakeholders;

  • Responsible as the US based focal point for MBSE topics specific to the Future Vertical Lift program mission equipment requirements and proposed Thales solutions;

  • Define MBSE related infrastructure requirements and capital investments for Thales business entities;

  • Perform training to Thales affiliates on MBSE concepts, principles and execution & communicate MBSE requirements with other Thales entities;

  • Coordinate with other Thales Group systems engineering resources to communicate the objectives and requirements of US based programs to ensure all Group resources are capabilities are fully exploited;

  • Disassociate US Government defined system requirements and performance objectives into an ambiguous (non-export controlled) formats and contexts that permit the participation of Non-US technical resources.

Skills and Experience:

  • U.S. Citizenship required.

  • Applicants selected may be subject to a government security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.

  • Bachelor degree in Engineer or other relevant discipline.

  • 15+ years of relevant professional experience.

  • Strong background in avionics systems engineering, open systems architectures, model based systems engineering methods, and knowledge of MBSE tools and languages (SysML, AADL, MagicDraw/Cameo, etc.);

  • Detailed systems knowledge is required in some of the following domains: Cockpit Display, Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA), FMS, GPS, AFCS, Mission Computers, Helmet Mounted Display, Air Data, Cockpit Audio, Tactical Datalink, FANS, Radio Altimeters, Synthetic Vision Systems, TAWS, TCAS/Transponders, VHF Comm, VHF Nav, weapon system; etc.

  • Familiarity with avionics systems regulatory and certification requirements such as TSO, DO-297,DO-160, DO-254, DO-178B/C, ARP4754, FACE & other MIL-STD;

  • Strong expertise in defining system level design and creating the system, subsystem;

  • Experience in the design and certification of Avionics / Incremental Modular Avionics / electrical embedded equipment and systems;

  • Experience in planning and the activities of a small engineering team;

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills (able to write reports and to communicate effectively);

  • Ability to interact effectively with customers and suppliers;

  • Ability to develop innovative solutions for complex problems;

  • Good team player;

  • Previous work package management experience is an asset;

  • Experience with Automatic code design and generation experience (e.g., Scade Suite or MATLAB Embedded Coder) is an asset;

  • Knowledge of OpenGL SC2.0, A429, and Ethernet is an asset.

  • Ability to travel 25 – 40% of the time, primarily within US;

  • Occasional travel internationally

Preferred Skills and Experience:

  • Detailed systems knowledge is highly preferred in the following domains: Cockpit Display, Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA), FMS, GPS, AFCS, Mission Computers, Helmet Mounted Display, Air Data, Cockpit Audio, Tactical Datalink, FANS, Radio Altimeters, Synthetic Vision Systems, TAWS, TCAS/Transponders, VHF Comm, VHF Nav, weapon system; etc.

  • Rotorcraft Systems Engineering experience

  • Experience in project with the DoD/USG

  • Former military experience is an asset

At Thales we provide CAREERS and not only jobs. With Thales employing 80,000 employees in 68 countries our mobility policy enables thousands of employees each year to develop their careers at home and abroad, in their existing areas of expertise or by branching out into new fields. Together we believe that embracing flexibility is a smarter way of working. Great journeys start here, apply now!

Thales champions inclusion and we believe diversity strengthens the fabric of our culture. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer/AA/Minorities/Females/Veterans/Disabled.

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For United States Candidates

Thales is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, age or any other characteristic protected by law. Please read Thales Equal Opportunity Policy Statement. Please read our Pay Transparency Policy Statement.

For more information about your rights as an applicant, please review EEO is the Law and EEO is the Law Supplement or EEO is the Law (Spanish) and EEO is the Law Supplement (Spanish).

If you need an accommodation or assistance in order to apply for a position with Thales, please call Human Resources at 1-833-676-3700 or email us at

Thales is an E-Verify employer - learn more here.

About our location

Arlington, United States of America

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