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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » April 30, 2014
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Vision is key
April 30, 2014   
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PCO S.A., a company drawing on the tradition of the defunct Polskie Zakłady Optyczne (PZO), was established in 1976 under the name Przemysłowe Centrum Optyki w budowie.

In 1994 it was transformed into Przemysłowe Centrum Optyki Spółka Akcyjna, a company wholly owned by the Treasury. In September 2002, 80 percent of the company’s share capital was transferred to Przedsiębiorstwo Handlu Zagranicznego Bumar Sp. z o.o. (now Polski Holding Obronny Sp. z o.o.) and a process of transferring some of the shares to the company’s employees began. In 2011-2012, the company led the Dywizja Żołnierz division of the Bumar group. Today PCO S.A. is the leader of Dywizja Elektronika, one of the main groups in Poland’s defense industry. On Dec. 4, 2013, the company’s name was changed from Bumar PCO S.A. to PCO S.A.

PCO S.A.’s first projects involved the development of the Merida fire control system (together with the Military University of Technology in Warsaw), the Bobrawa laser warning system, and the Portland artillery rangefinder. In the early 1980s, the company launched mass production of its Ceryt range of products. In 1983-1994, it followed up with full-scale manufacture of the Radomka and Liswarta sighting devices. In 1985-1988, the company exported its first military products. The first foreign buyer was Romania, which purchased 78 Bobrawa sets. In the following years, intensive work was conducted on new products, including those for new types of combat vehicles for the Polish armed forces, chiefly the T-72 tank. Especially for this tank, a new fire control system called Drawa was developed. The company also developed the Obra vehicle self-protection system, which was first used in the T-72 tank, and is currently installed—in the Obra-3 version—in the Rosomak wheeled armored vehicle. PCO S.A. also branched out into new areas of design and manufacturing. It developed and began producing a range of sighting and targeting devices as well as night vision binoculars. In 1988, work started on the Dobrzyca night vision goggles, the first such product in Poland. Over the next several years, the company specialized primarily in night vision technology and steadily developed its thermal imaging systems.

From the very beginning PCO S.A. enjoyed the status of a company working for national defense and state security. In 1997, the company launched a quality control system meeting the requirements of the ISO 9001:1996 standard. In 2000, PCO S.A. secured a certificate of conformity with the AQAP-110 quality standard—needed to handle military orders, both domestic and foreign. Since 2003, the company has had an Internal Trading Control System meeting the requirements of the law on foreign trade in goods, technologies and services of strategic importance to national security and the maintenance of international peace and security.

Today, PCO S.A.’s core business is in the production and sale of optoelectronic observation and sighting devices based on laser, night vision and thermal imaging technology for the military and other uniformed services. In addition to production, the company provides repair and maintenance services. PCO S.A. also conducts research and development work. For many years, the company has worked with Polish universities and research centers, such as the Institute of Optoelectronics of the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, the Air Force Institute of Technology in Warsaw, the Military Institute of Armament Technology in Zielonka near Warsaw, and the Military Institute of Armor and Automotive Technology in Sulejówek near Warsaw.
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