US defence and aerospace manufacturers, Leidos and L3Harris, have announced their joint partnership for a proposal to the US Army’s Theater Level High-Altitude Expeditionary Next Airborne – Signals Intelligence (ATHENA-S) programme.

Together the companies will deliver two enhanced Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft in support of the programme. The team will work to modify two Bombardier Global 6500 jets with radar, electronic and communications intelligence capabilities tailored to ATHENA-S requirements. 

The aircraft are intended to support US Army missions in the US European Command area of responsibility. The Army will design them to close the gap between the Army’s medium and high-altitude ISR aircraft fleet. 

ATHENA-S will fly at higher operating altitudes, provide increased range, greater endurance, more capacity for larger payloads and greater standoff ranges, along with next-generation sensor technology.

“With our combined integration, investment, engineering and design expertise, we look forward to producing a highly-configurable platform with more ISR capabilities to create an operational picture of the battlefield. The Leidos-L3Harris team is excited to deliver a decision advantage for the US and our allies,” said Tim Freeman, Leidos Senior Vice President and Airborne Solutions Operations Manager.

This ATHENA-S partnership comes just off the heels of another partnership L3Harris had with ELAT Systems, a former subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. This former partnership aimed to provide advanced, open architecture platforms that enhance multi-domain operations while maintaining readiness rates and cost efficiency.

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Similarly, L3Harris and ELTA presented a missionised Bombardier Global 6500, equipped with ELTA’s latest next-generation Anti-Electronic Warfare systems and Battle Management Command and Control Suite, both operationally proven. Additionally, the solution will include L3Harris’ interoperable communications suite.