L3Harris, a player in military aircraft integration, is set to deliver 11 WESCAM MX-20D electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor systems to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) for Canada’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS. 

L3Harris, an EO/IR imaging capability manufacturer, is forging a partnership with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to enhance Canada’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS capabilities—the systems’ deployment, is scheduled to commence in 2024 with the first aircraft delivery expected in 2028. 

At the end of 2023, Canada announced the $1.87bn (C$2.5bn) investment in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), supplied by US-based General Atomics. The RPAS, similar in size to a fighter jet, will adhere to crewed aircraft airworthiness standards. The contract includes 11 aircraft. 

Canada’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS equipped with L3Harris’ WESCAM MX-20D EO/IR technology hopes to improve the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations across the challenging Canadian terrain, including the Arctic region. 

Kristin Houston, president of Electro-Optical, L3Harris, said: “L3Harris has a longstanding relationship with General Atomics and welcomes new opportunities to integrate our world-class technologies on a leading remotely piloted aircraft. 

Our EO/IR systems once again prove to be the ultimate solution for the world’s most advanced and capable platforms, including SkyGuardian. We welcome the opportunity to contribute to Canada’s national security.”

This collaboration supports Canada’s ‘Strong, Secure, Engaged’ defence policy, reflecting investments in RPAS with ISR capabilities. 

The integration of WESCAM MX-20D showcases L3Harris’ ability to meet mission-critical needs, contributing to Canada’s national defence strategy across diverse fleets, including the CP-140 Aurora, CH-146 Griffon, CH-147F Chinook, CH-149 Cormorant, and CC-295 Kingfisher.

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Systems Market 2021-2031” report, in July 2020, the US Army surveillance and targeting operations awarded a contract to L3Harris Technologies for $380m for the procurement of WESCAM MX-Series EO/IR sensors.