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Saab Global
Installation in HQ

Principal Mechanical Engineer

San Diego, California, United States of America
Closing date: 30 April 2024

Job Description:

Autonomous Systems Program Manager & Principal Mechanical Engineer
Saab Inc., Naval Autonomous Systems division is seeking an innovative and experienced Principal Mechanical Engineer to lead and guide our technical teams in capturing, understanding, and implementing product design requirements for autonomous Autonomous/Unmanned Surface/Underwater Vehicles (aUSVs/aUUVs, AUVs) and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs).  This role is a great opportunity to not only lead the technical work but also use and grow your program management skills as the deputy to the head of the product area.  This position is based from our San Diego, California, CA facility.

Responsibilities include but not limited to:

  • Provide strategic direction for mechanical systems and present technical concepts regarding product design and performance.

  • Interface with Operations, Systems, Electrical, Quality and Safety/Human Factors as well as other business functions to develop/define/implement customer requirements.

  • Provide leadership for the research and development of new mechanical components and electromechanical assemblies.

  • Provide leadership and execute functional analysis, evaluation, and optimization of product designs.

  • Understand customer base needs for business development and program execution.

  • Develop work package labor estimates and status reports.

  • Mentor and support engineering staff development.

  • Present technical results and content to customers, tailored to the customer audience.

  • Provide technical leadership to key subcontractors and suppliers.

  • Maintain size, weight, and power budgets through development phases.

  • Provide technical leadership in manufacturing related matters.

  • Perform and oversee design verification efforts.

  • Lead cost/benefit trade-off analysis and feasibility studies.

  • Lead mechanical related failure analysis of hardware.

  • Provide planning and use organizational skills for team tasks and projects.

  • Lead and verify adherence to the company’s quality system and processes.

  • Lead and verify adherence to intellectual property protection and security procedures.

  • Manage system level design considerations and trade-offs where many engineering disciplines are concerned.

  • Provide technical vision to incorporate best practices into the company’s processes, tools, and methodologies to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Shape and contribute to business area objectives through development of technology plans.

  • Engage with customers to ensure product cost, scheduling and technical requirements are met.

  • Ensure effective and efficient implementation of planning and operations process.

  • Perform project planning including staffing, cost account management, risk management and proposal development.

  • Act on behalf of the Director for Naval Autonomy in her/his absence.

Compensation Range: $151,500-$196,900

The compensation range provided is a general guideline. When extending an offer, Saab, Inc. considers factors including (but not limited to) the role and associated responsibilities, location, and market and business considerations, as well as the candidate's work experience, key skills, and education/training.

Skills and Experience:

Skills And Experience

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering preferred.

  • Minimum 8 years of experience in mechanical design, 12 years preferred.

  • Proficient in the use of industry standard mechanical engineering design tools (SolidWorks, AutoCad, Creo, Ansys, ICEPAK, Mechanica etc.)

  • Significant product development background demonstrating a strong engineering aptitude and good problem-solving skills with underwater vehicles and devices.

  • Demonstrated leadership to resolve issues during design, development and execution of mechanical engineering activities.

  • Candidate must be able to work with limited/general direction.

  • Be a U.S. citizen hold or be able to obtain U.S. DoD security clearance.

  • Ability to travel up to 25%, both international and domestic.

  • Able to lead team of up to 5 multi-discipline engineers to develop and document mechanical/electrical/systems components and assemblies.

  • Proficient at understanding and driving requirements traceability in a model-based systems engineering environment.

  • Able to work on vessels at sea in a maritime environment. 

  • Experience and/or interest in additive manufacturing and AI-based design & tools.

Desired Experience and Skills:

  • Prior U.S. government and/or DoD industry experience with autonomous systems and US Navy/USMC customers.

  • Experience packaging electronics and sensor with respect to CB/CG separation and weight.

  • Experience with OpenProp, XFOIL and modeling of mechanical systems in Matlab.

  • Familiarity with Mil Standards, ruggedized equipment design and environmental test requirements.

  • Knowledge of materials and corrosion control.

  • Experience with ANSI Y14.5 Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T).

  • Demonstrated performance and expertise in the elements of Mechanical design, such as analysis and implementation of requirements, developing design concepts, evaluating designs, technical and design reviews.

  • Space and/or maritime system experience with software/hardware integration experience, especially in autonomy and artificial intelligence a plus.

Citizenship Requirements:

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

Drug-Free Workplaces:

Saab is a federal government contractor and adheres to policies and programs necessary for sustaining drug-free workplaces. As a condition of employment, candidates will be required to pass a pre-employment drug screen.


Saab provides an excellent working environment offering professional growth opportunities, competitive wages, work-life balance, business-casual atmosphere and comprehensive benefits:

  • Medical, vision and dental insurance for employees and dependents

  • Paid time off including: minimum of 3 weeks vacation, 5 floating holidays, 8 designated holidays, parental leave, personal illness, bereavement, jury duty, long-term and short-term disability

  • 401(k) with immediate vesting on employer match

  • Tuition assistance

  • Student loan assistance

  • Wellness account, subscription and employee assistance programs

  • Employee stock purchase program with employer match

About Us:

Saab is a leading defense and security company with an enduring mission, to help nations keep their people and society safe. Empowered by its 19,000 talented people, Saab constantly pushes the boundaries of technology to create a safer, more sustainable and more equitable world. In the U.S., Saab delivers advanced technology and systems, supporting the U.S. Armed Forces and the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as international and commercial partners. Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, the company has business units and local employees in eight U.S. locations.

Saab is a company where we see diversity as an asset and offer unlimited opportunities for advancing in your career. We are also a company that respects each person’s needs and encourage employees to lead a balanced, rewarding life beyond work. Saab values diversity and is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply and will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran, disability status, or any other federal, state, or locally protected category.