L3 WESCAM has developed a removable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) kit that can convert rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft into missionised platforms.
Using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems, the company's MatriX ISR systems solution enables the conversion without having to make any structural changes to the aircraft, Mike Greenley, president of L3 WESCAM, told Jane's .
The idea is to offer an advanced level of ISR mission capabilities in airborne platforms that have not traditionally filled that role, L3 WESCAM said in a statement.
The company has three variants of its MatriX system that are either currently available or will be available by the end of 2017, following conclusion of final testing, Greenley said.
For example, a kit is available for the utility variant of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
To convert the aircraft into an ISR platform, Greenley said the nose panel would be replaced with an L3 WESCAM unit that includes the sensor. Cabling would then be run into the aircraft where it would mate with a portable console installed in the back of the helicopter.
"Now you have a full missionised aircraft. If you had to do the whole installation including the installation of the sensor the maximum time it would take is 5-6 hours at the most," Greenley said. "If the sensor was already on the helicopter and you were just brining in the mission suite then it would be done in less than an hour. To take it all off to return the aircraft back to its original state would be a 1- to 2-hour exercise."
L3 WESCAM identified an untapped opportunity and unfulfilled operational need for users who want high capability full-motion video (FMV) for ISR on existing platforms.
"Over time it became clear there was this opportunity to be able to have this solution so you can buy the pre-integrated, pre-tested kit for your platform," Greenley said.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options: ihs.com/contact