WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army tapped a pair of companies to deliver jets kitted with spying technologies in advancement of its long-range targeting plans.
MAG Aerospace and L3Harris Technologies on Aug. 22 said they would together outfit Bombardier Global 6500 aircraft with a bloc of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors for the service’s Theater Level High Altitude Expeditionary Next Airborne ISR-Radar venture, or ATHENA-R.
The companies did not disclose the value of the contract, which was awarded by the Program Executive Office for Aviation. An inquiry made to the companies was not immediately answered.
The service is in the midst of an aerial reconnaissance overhaul, moving away from Cold War-era planes and their limitations and toward a future aimed at insights gleaned from deeper distances and higher altitudes. The ATHENA — of which there are planned variants, “R” and “S,” for signals intelligence — is part of the lift.
“Current geopolitical circumstances dictate a need for an adaptable and resolute ISR solution that can adequately address near-peer threats and future contested environments, and we are prepared to execute,” MAG Aerospace CEO Joseph Reale said in a statement. “This award is validation of the relentless work our employees execute everyday alongside our customers.”
MAG Aerospace and L3Harris announced their partnership last year.
L3Harris is the ninth largest contractor in the world when ranked by defense revenue, according to Defense News “Top 100″ analysis. The company is also involved in the Army’s Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System, or ARES, effort in the Indo-Pacific.
The service is expanding its ISR arsenal as the Pentagon prepares for potential conflict with Russia and China. It is paying special attention to what’s known as deep sensing: the capacity to find, monitor, target and kill from farther away and with finer precision.
“We have a great track record of working with the Army,” Jon Rambeau, the L3Harris president for integrated mission systems, said in a statement. “Our team understands the urgency of fielding these long-range, deep-sensing capabilities to support the Army’s mission needs and is positioned to deliver.”
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.