Farnborough Air Show

L-3 Systems Integration Role Grows

 - July 2, 2008, 11:50 AM

After a wave of strategic acquisitions in recent years, L-3 has significantly boosted its presence as a systems integrator in complex defense programs. Alenia’s new C-27J Spartan military transport for the U.S. Joint Cargo Aircraft contract, which made its first flight last month, is L-3’s biggest task to date. The U.S. company is prime contractor for the integration of a wide variety of communications, electronics and self-protection systems, conducting its work at its facilities in Greenville and Waco, Texas.

“On projected revenues, this is our largest systems integration role and we expect the program to be delivered on time and on budget,” L-3 Communications president and CEO Mike Strianese told AIN.

L-3 currently is bidding as systems integrator for Northrop Grumman’s proposal for the EP-X, an electronic surveillance variant of Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon multimission maritime patrol aircraft. The EP-X’s specifications are not yet fully defined.

Earlier this year, L-3 acquired Northrop Grumman’s electro-optical systems business, giving it more capability in surveillance systems. It is also teamed with Northrop for the aerial common sensor bid, and is systems integrator for the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program based on its Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. In the UK, L-3 is involved in the Helix project to develop a replacement for the Nimrod reconnaissance fleet.

According to Strianese, L-3’s expertise is being put to good use in the fast-changing world of networkcentric warfare for both the U.S. and UK government programs. The company develops the architecture to allow multiple platforms and sensors to move data around. L3 provides advanced datalinks and has developed networkcentric collaborative targeting, which uses more than one platform to identify, verify and precisely locate targets to reduce the sensor-to-shooter timeline and improve accuracy.

Here at the Farnborough show, L-3 is also highlighting its Link range of combat aircraft simulators and its Avcatt portfolio of defense training systems, including the new Helcatt simulator for helicopter pilots, featuring integrated terrain mapping.

Through its ACSS subsidiary, the group also offers the SafeRoute automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast system. In addition to its safety function, this equipment is also helping operators such as UPS to burn less fuel by optimizing flight time and route to land without the need for inefficient vectoring around the arrival airport.