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AUSA 2022: MAG Aerospace and L3Harris propose converted commercial bizjet for US Army airborne ISR
MAG Aerospace and L3Harris on 11 October announced a proposal to help the US Army meet its airborne ISR requirements under the Theater Level High-Altitude Expeditionary Next-Gen ISR Radar (ATHENA-R) programme.
The MAG/L3Harris solution would convert Bombardier Global Express 6500 business jets into ISR platforms to support US Army missions in the Indo-Pacific region.
‘Designed to close the gap between the Army’s medium- and high-altitude ISR aircraft fleet, the ATHENA-R provides longer range, greater endurance, more capacity for bigger payloads and standoff ranges, and leading-edge sensor technology,’ L3Harris claimed in an 11 October statement.
L3Harris already operates a Bombardier Global Series aircraft as part of its Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System that supports US Army Pacific Command.
The US Army announced during the AUSA 2022 exhibition in Washington DC that it will launch a tender for ATHENA-R, with aircraft to be supplied on a contractor-owned, contractor-operated basis.
The L3Harris/MAG team is likely to face competition for ATHENA-R from the likes of Sierra Nevada Corporation (which unveiled its RAPCON-X in August 2022) and Leidos (with the Artemis special mission aircraft).
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