WESCAM MX-20 successfully integrated onto MQ-9

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) and L3Harris Technologies have successfully integrated the WESCAM MX-20 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) system onto an MQ-9 unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV).

Post integration test flights with the WESCAM MX-20 – which will provide an advanced target solution for GA-ASI’s MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-9B SkyGuardian UCAVs – began on February 18 to demonstrate the platform’s ability to locate and track targets at long stand-off ranges.

Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI, said: “The GA-ASI and L3Harris teams have worked closely over the past year to ensure the successful integration of this sophisticated system. This is a significant milestone and we look forward to the enduring relationship and growing opportunities with L3Harris WESCAM.”

MQ-9 with WESCAM MX-20 [GA-ASI] #1
An MQ-9 with the WESCAM MX-20 EO/IR sensor equipped. GA-ASI

The system will support MQ-9 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and precision guided munition (PGM) operations. The MX-20 features multi-sensor imaging and lasing payload options, supporting up to seven sensors simultaneously. It can provide HD image resolution from its EO/IR cameras and has three laser illuminator divergence options. It also features enhanced local area processing (ELAP), which provides real-time image enhancement for EO/IR in night and day environments. It also comprises a high-performance IMU & MX-GEO software suite, which works to create an accurate target location and offers automatic image focus. The platform is attached to the aircraft by a five axis gimbal, ensuring stabilisation and uses common operator interfaces and line replaceable units (LRUs) to ensure commonality with other systems.

Jacques Comtois, general manager, WESCAM, at L3Harris, said: “L3Harris is proud to partner with GA-ASI to deliver sophisticated technologies for persistent surveillance missions and evolving battlefields… Being a Team SkyGuardian partner allows us to support our technology’s modular growth path with unprecedented levels of innovation and business opportunities globally for leading unmanned aircraft system [programmes].”