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Achieving Air Dominance by Advancing Imaging & Designating EO/IR Capabilities

Integrated Mission Systems
Apr 18, 2024 | 4 MINUTE Read
Helicopter with WESCAM gimbal

Image Credit: Leonardo Helicopters

L3Harris has an airborne portfolio of state-of-the-art EO/IR sensors systems that are deployed worldwide, at varying ranges, and with overlapping fields-of-view, creating the opportunity for uninterrupted surveillance of borders, forward operating bases, airfields and other vital assets. 

The air domain comes with unique challenges. High air speeds and altitude, coupled with challenging weather phenomena require high-performance sensors systems that are ruggedized, stabilized and capable of facing off with environmental obstacles such as fog, haze, dust, moisture and extreme temperatures. 

Designed and manufactured in a state-of-the art facility, these imaging and targeting systems are found on more than 250 different types of platforms, including fixed-wing, rotor-wing, UAV and aerostat platforms. Within our product portfolio is a series of systems that encourage ease and familiarity of use, simplified turret interchangeability within fleets, efficiencies in technology enhancements and overall system support. 

Product Development

L3Harris continually invests in developing new products and features to improve performance and reliability across its line-up of WESCAM MX-Series EO/IR sensor systems. 

Canadian aircraft in flight

An MQ-9B SkyGuardian equipped with L3Harris’ WESCAM MX-20D EO/IR sensor system. Image Courtesy of GA-ASI

This includes the new WESCAM MX™-8D, a compact, digital multi-sensor, multi-axis stabilized system with a high-precision laser target designator, real-time image enhancement, high-performance haze penetrator and an advanced automatic video tracker. The WESCAM MX-8D is ideal for manned or unmanned airborne platforms requiring the combination of advanced imaging in a low-weight installation package. Like all other WESCAM MX-Series products, the MX-8D offers exceptional reliability and ease of use, but in a more compact form factor at a very light weight. 

bomber in flight with gimbal underneath

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Across our WESCAM-MX Series products, L3Harris is developing continued enhancements of medium to large diameter EO/IR systems that will be progressively released over the coming year to improve reliability, range performance and reduce operator workload. These systems include the WESCAM MX™-10, WESCAM MX™-15 and WESCAM MX™-20 EO/IR imaging systems that provide ISR for medium, high, and ultra-high altitude missions. Each class-size can also be equipped with designation capabilities. 

The WESCAM MX™-25D system provides a unique set of capabilities as a next-generation electro-optical/infrared system with robust research and development contributing to its evolution as the ultimate sighting solution. Recent field tests confirmed its ability to provide increased aircrew safety with higher resolutions, increased infrared and laser range that improves accuracy as well as a major upgrade in daylight sighting thanks to improved short wave infrared (SWIR) functionality. Furthermore, evolutions in development of the WESCAM MX-25D have led to considerable weight reductions along with new multi-target tracking features. 

Artificial Intelligence and Automatic Video Tracking Technology

aerial vehicle in flight

The WESCAM MX-8D is a compact, light-weight and stabilized sensor system ideal for remotely piloted aircraft. 

For use across all of our WESCAM MX-Series products, L3Harris is increasing the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to provide new, state-of-the-art target tracking and recognition capabilities, allowing for improved situational awareness for operators in challenging terrain and environments. These developments answer the calls of customers for L3Harris to provide increased performance in contested environments. 

Additionally, L3harris is preparing to launch an improvement on our automatic video tracking technology. The developments allow a WESCAM MX-Series system to track two or more targets simultaneously and identify moving targets, giving operators greater situational awareness and reducing operator work load in identifying potential threats or high value targets. 

Designation Capabilities

WESCAM MX-Series EO/IR systems have outperformed their major competitors in all aspects of performance and capability, giving them the longest EO/IR target identification and designating ranges in the industry. L3Harris will soon be introducing new laser designators and laser range finders that work at longer stand-off distances from the target. High mean-team-between-failures are also achieved through the systems’ diode-pumped laser target designator. This new capabilities is a key differentiator for our WESCAM MX-Series allowing our imaging systems and operators to See First and Act First. The sooner a target is identified, the sooner decisions can be made, especially on missions when each second is critical to success. 

L3Harris’ designating systems enable teams to dominate the battlefield 24/7, with greater precision than ever before. With extensive deployment, these designating systems offer “plug-and-play” installation, as well as high-sensitivity multi-spectral sensors designed for degraded visual environments (DVE) encountered during day, low-light and night-time missions. WESCAM MX-Series systems also offer precise geo-pointing technologies for hands-free simplicity regardless of aircraft or obstructions. 

Helicopter with WESCAM MX™-Series gimbal

The WESCAM MX-15D is a high-performance EO/IR sensor system complete with auto-tracking and advanced IR imaging. 

Stabilization and Reliability 

L3Harris’ class-leading stabilization is set to benefit from further technology advancement that increase Detect, Recognize and Identify (DRI) ranges as we introduce new generations of our WESCAM MX-Series EO/IR sensor systems. Our customers’ mission needs require extremely high reliability and robustness to ensure mission success under the harshest operating conditions. Across our product line, each system offers multi-axis gimbals, with each payload fully stabilized. Combined with a high-performance software suite, the WESCAM MX-Series achieves the highest target location accuracy with automatic alignment to thee aircraft and provides a robust automatic image focus. 

WESCAM MX-Series Customer Care Ecosystem

L3Harris continues to invest heavily customer care, in-service support solutions and product development. Certified to AS9100 and ISO9001 standards, L3Harris’ practices and products have achieved a standard of quality that is recognized and respected globally. 

It’s a network designed to increase operational availability and minimize repair turn-around time, reduce total cost of ownership and minimize administrative delays. 

Discover the Difference

Because today’s mission requirements demand identification and designation from longer standoff ranges, WESCAM MX-Series products have been engineered to focus on the three factors that drive Maximum Range: resolution, magnification and stabilization. As a result, each WESCAM MX-Series system has outperformed its major competitor in every performance area, giving the series the longest EO/IR target identification and designating ranges in the industry.

The capability is here. Now is the time to invest in visual technologies that dominate enemy operations.

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