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L3Harris, Korean Air and ELTA Advancing ROK’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Capability

Integrated Mission Systems
Dec 22, 2023 | 4 MINUTE Read
Airborne Early Warning and Control Video

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The Korea AEW&C team members have already delivered a variety of special mission aircraft to its customers over the past 20 years. These include, among others, multiple Italian Air Force CAEW aircraft supporting NATO missions, including ongoing operations in eastern Europe, and two Israeli Air Force CAEW aircraft flying missions in support of ongoing local operations. All aircraft have maintained mission availability rates above 90 percent.

L3Harris has also delivered P-3CK revitalization and P-3C upgrades, RC-800 Baekdu programs and special surveillance aircraft to the ROK.

The proposed ROK Air Force AEW&C solution is built around a proven mission system design already operating in multiple theaters, resulting in a powerful capability with low development and sustainment costs. The mission system is integrated using a modular open systems approach (MOSA) digital backbone. Incorporating MOSA enables affordable and rapid upgrades to address pacing threats, latest operational approaches and interoperability requirements while using a business jet platform offers lower cost per operating hour than commercial derivative solutions and high readiness rates along with a higher altitude and longer-range surveillance capability.

The AEW&C solution is based on a battle-tested L3Harris platform design using Bombardier’s premier Global 6500™ high-altitude business jet, and includes the integration of IAI/ELTA’s advanced radar technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, providing the world’s most advanced airborne battle management platform. The Global 6500 is a modern aircraft that will fly higher, faster, longer and at a lower cost to acquire, operate and maintain than existing AEW&C platforms.

This mature and proven configuration ensures that the ROK program will be low-risk, low-cost and delivered on-time, all while ensuring maximum support to the Korea Air and Missile Defense initiative.

“Our team has evaluated future special mission requirements for the Republic of Korea and our selection of the Global 6500 for the program was a decisive one,” said Mark Kobussen, Managing Director, Strategic Collection & Targeting Programs, L3Harris. “Between AEW&C Batch II, Stand-Off Jammer and ISTAR, L3Harris has a common Global 6500 configuration based on current programs that satisfies all of these missions, with a communications suite and datalinks compatible with other U.S. and allied programs.”

Korean Owned, Korean Made and Korean Maintained

The team has outlined this program from the beginning with the objective to transition to a largely Korean industry-led program after delivery of the prototype aircraft. The first two aircraft will receive structural modifications in Texas before transferring to an ELTA facility in Israel for integration and radar testing. 

Korean Air has participated from the start and will provide engineering and will lead in-country modification and testing activities of aircraft three and four. Korean Air will also lead in-country sustainment of the program.

Through L3Harris’ agreements with Korean Air, LIG Nex1 and Ace Antenna, and on-going discussions with additional Korean partners, the team intends that the aircraft and mission system equipment will be fully supported in Korea. Sustainment, obsolescence management and integration of future capability upgrades will be Korean industry-led with support from the L3Harris team. This strategic support extended to Korean Air paves the way for independent domestic research and development and fostering excellence in aircraft system integration, upgrades, and modifications, which will contribute significantly to the advancement of the ROK’s research and development program.

Decades of Proven Aircraft Integration Expertise

This effort is one part of L3Harris’ growing portfolio of multi-mission business jet solutions hosted on a variety of commercial platforms supporting critical global security missions. Other efforts include the Royal Australian Air Force’s MC-55A Peregrine program; the U.S. Air Force’s EC-37B Compass Call Cross Deck program; the U.S. Army’s Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare and Theater Level High-Altitude Expeditionary Next Airborne ISR Radar programs hosted on Bombardier Global series aircraft; the Republic of Korea Air Force’s Peace Pioneer program; the Japan Coast Guard’s Maritime Surveillance Program; and an international Dassault Falcon 2000 maritime ISR program.

The company has also announced its bid to replace the Finnish Border Guard’s turboprop surveillance aircraft with a modern Dassault Falcon 2000 and a bid to field U.S. Army’s new High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System program with a missionized Global 6500.

L3Harris has integrated aircraft for more than 70 years and missionized aircraft from more than 10 original equipment manufacturers, consisting of over 125 aircraft types with more than 15,000 deliveries. The company has more than 50 multi-mission business jet aircraft on contract or delivered. Customers include coast guards and militaries across the U.S., U.K., Australia, as well as European and Asian partner nations.

25 Years of Strengthening ROK’s Technology Advantage

L3Harris has provided ROK with defense technologies and solutions for more than 25 years. 

The company has delivered mission systems to the ROK Air Force and Naval air assets to meet each service’s needs. These mission systems include communications intelligence, electronic intelligence, advanced avionics, communications, radars, electro-optical/infrared, magnetic anomaly detection, acoustic, mission management, display systems, simulator and training systems, and follow-on support. 


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