L3Harris Safeguarding Futures with Cutting-Edge Defence Solutions

Scott Roberts
Corporate Vice President, Southeast Asia & Taiwan
L3Harris Technologies

Being a trusted disruptor in defence, L3Harris has been anticipating and rapidly responding to challenges in the world with agile technology ever since its inception, creating a safer world and more secure future. L3Harris is strengthening its position as an industry-leading merchant supplier with rapid, innovative solutions. L3Harris has maintained a focus on Southeast Asia for decades and its supply chain extends to the region. “We outsource more than $20 million per year from Malaysian manufacturers, and we have done so for almost a decade. We are growing our supply chains in other regional countries as well. At DSA 2024, L3Harris is showcasing its resilient communications and EO/IR capabilities, as well as having teams on hand to discuss our airborne ISR/ MPA and strike capabilities,” said Scott Roberts, Corporate Vice President, Southeast Asia & Taiwan, L3Harris Technologies. In an interview with Aeromag, he talks about the company’s latest operations in various domains, focus areas, plans etc.

 

The world is evolving fast and increasingly complex, and creating a safer world and more secure future is the need of the hour. What role does L3 Harris play with regard to this? What are the major achievements?
L3Harris Technologies is the Trusted Disruptor for the global aerospace and defence industry. With customers’ mission-critical needs always in mind, our ~50,000 employees deliver end-to-end technology solutions connecting the space, air, land, sea and cyber domains.
Our complete breadth of capabilities are in great demand in Southeast Asia, and L3Harris is completely aligned with the U.S. Government’s priorities.

The maritime solutions offered by L3Harris go far beyond the surface. Could you give us an overview of the range of products and services in the domain?
L3Harris has a comprehensive range of maritime capabilities. For submarines, this includes imaging systems, integrated platform management systems (IPMS), integrated communications, mast-raising equipment, passive towed arrays, and much more. On surface combatants, this includes passive and active Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) systems, IPMS, and Electro-optic/Infrared (EO/IR) systems, to name a few. L3Harris is a major provider of Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) and Unmanned Undersea Vessels (UUVs), and we provide several capabilities for maritime helicopters, including ASW dipping sonar, EO/IR, data links, and sonobuoy launchers. What’s important to note is that our communication systems also ensure that naval forces can interoperate with all other branches of the armed forces and to share actionable intelligence even under highly contested environments.

Could you elaborate on L3 Harris’ advanced sensor design that will enable Space Systems Command satellites to track missile launches and hypersonic glide vehicles?
L3Harris is answering the call to protect against advanced missile threats, such as hypersonic glide vehicles, with responsive, multilayered, end-to-end missile warning and defence solutions for the U.S. military. Our technology plays a mission-critical role in several of the nation’s key missile warning and defence satellite programs, including those for the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space Development Agency (SDA) and Space Systems Command (SSC), as well as the Missile Defence Agency (MDA).

Over the past six months, L3Harris has made significant progress in developing and deploying solutions that rapidly and affordably address our mission partners’ most critical missile warning, tracking, and defence challenges – including the February launch of five of our missile tracking satellites, four for SDA’s Tranche 0 Tracking Layer program and one for MDA’s Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program.
For SSC in particular, in June 2023, L3Harris was awarded an approximately $29 million sensor payload design contract to deliver a digital model for the Medium Earth orbit (MEO) Missile Track Custody (MTC) Epoch 1 program that will support detecting and tracking hypersonic missiles. We’ve completed Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the infrared sensor (IR) payload, a critical milestone that defines the sensor’s design baseline for SSC, and we’re on track for Critical Design Review (CDR) this year.
To meet current and future customer needs, L3Harris is investing heavily in scaling operations, including building a new 60,000-square-foot IR sensor production facility in Indiana, with the capacity to support assembly, integration, and test of over 150 sensors per year, as well as a 90,000-square-foot space vehicle integration facility in Florida, that will double L3Harris’ capacity to integrate and test satellites as a mission prime. Both facilities will be operational before the end of 2024.
By leveraging our 60-year heritage in specialised sensors, infrared imaging, real-time detection algorithms, and common interfaces and payloads – and scaling to meet customer needs – we’re able to quickly field advanced technologies that detect and track missile launches and hypersonic glide vehicles.

L3Harris is delivering high-speed data SATCOM connectivity through its Hawkeye™ III Lite Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT). Could you talk more about it and its latest updates?
L3Harris has been providing U.S. warfighters with leading-edge resilient, agile and scalable SATCOM terminals for years; the Hawkeye™ III Lite Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) is one example that is widely deployed with U.S. Army’s expeditionary missions. In addition, L3Harris also provides a lightweight man portable highly rugged terminal, the PantherTM II VSAT, in either 60- or 96-cm apertures.
Many of L3Harris VSATs are tri-band-capable systems (X-, Ku- and Ka-band) with auto-acquire feature and support multiple modem options.
L3Harris also designs and develops large, fixed anchor stations, including the next-generation large military fixed terminals for the U.S. Army’s Modernization of Enterprise Terminals (MET) program, which are deployed throughout the world.
L3Harris is a true end-to-end turnkey solution provider for high-performance resilient satellite communications for the most demanding military users.

How strong are your foreign collaborations and export operations? Could you elaborate on the company’s immediate goals ahead?
Nearly a quarter of L3Harris’ total revenue comes from our international partner nations. To achieve this, we ensure that we are in complete alignment with U.S. Government priorities, and we have an excellent Global Trade Compliance (GTC) group. This team works extremely closely and effectively with our customers and the U.S. Government to obtain export licenses in a timely manner.
An important element of our strategy is establishing strong partnerships not just with governments, but local industry. Partnering with and bolstering the local defence industry base ensures long-standing commitment and relationship to any country, and we believe this makes complete business sense for L3Harris.

How important a market is South East Asia for L3Harris? Could you talk about existing operations in the region and plans to expand it?
L3Harris has maintained a focus on Southeast Asia for decades, and we have local talent throughout the region from Thailand down to Indonesia and across to Taiwan.
Additionally, we have forward deployed personnel, all supporting one another as well as the corporation. As of today, we have dozens of personnel based in Southeast Asia alone. If you extend this to the entire IndoPacific region, L3Harris has more than 770 employees.
What’s important to note is that L3Harris’ supply chain also extends to the region. For example, we outsource more than $20 million per year from Malaysian manufacturers, & we have done so for almost a decade. We are growing our supply chains in other regional countries as well.

Could you talk about your participation in the DSA 2024 exhibition? How do you look at the expo as a platform to promote your business in the region?
At DSA, L3Harris will be showcasing our resilient communications and EO/IR capabilities, as well as having teams on hand to discuss our airborne ISR/ MPA and strike capabilities.
While we see the show as being predominantly Malaysian-centric, the show organisers have done a tremendous job of making it more of a regional event.

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