In early 2023, L3Harris provided U.S. Army soldiers the opportunity to assess the company’s latest EO/IR sensor systems, including the WESCAM MX™-10 RSTA and the WESCAM MX-GCS Mk2, in a live environment during an annual Army event that provides invaluable live soldier feedback.
All common payloads for both sensor systems were displayed and soldiers were walked through all software applications, including WIDOW®, tailored for the sensors through L3Harris’ custom ISR software development process, and providing a complete demonstration of WESCAM MX-Series capability and usability.
The Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE), conducted annually at Fort Moore, Georgia, is a massive endeavor organized by the U.S. Army and Maneuver Battle Lab to assess the most promising new capabilities and inform industry partners, like L3Harris, about the requirements for today’s warfighter. It was also an opportunity for L3Harris to provide the U.S. Army with insights into new electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) technology.
This symbiotic relationship provides modernization insight for U.S. and allied armies, while also providing feedback to technology innovators such as L3Harris to energize and provide innovative solutions for the future.
The AEWE specifically focuses on assessing new technologies that provide enhanced capabilities at the soldier and small-unit level, while also highlighting possible strategic advantages that could be leveraged for large-scale operations.
Cross-Platform Integration with the WESCAM MX-GCS Mk2
During the event, L3Harris experts noted that the WESCAM MX-GCS Mk2, as well as an optional spiral upgrade, would be applicable to both manned and unmanned mechanized formations, for both a gunner and commander above-armor sight, demonstrating the system’s ability to integrate with a variety of platforms and provide operators with unique and customized integration solutions. In addition, cross-platform communications and targeting are also available via the WESCAM MX-GCS Mk2’s available laser payloads. Operators can obtain visual detection, confirm, paint and track targets, and provide that information to additional platforms operating nearby. Providing the advanced detect-identify-track capability, the WESCAM MX-GCS will deliver ground-to-ground and ground-to-air situational understanding across multi-domain battlefields.
Increased Situational Awareness and Reconnaissance with the WESCAM MX-10 RSTA
Gunner and commander above-armor sight options also exist for L3Harris’ WESCAM MX-10 RSTA. The configurable options provide enhanced situational awareness in a multitude of field applications, including reconnaissance, force protection, cross-platform communications and targeting. The WESCAM MX-10 RSTA also provides soldiers the capability to dismount the system as needed for use off-platform in different configurations based on the customer’s needs or mission requirements. Mounted to a telescopic mast for mobile and static surveillance, the WESCAM MX-10 RSTA was selected as a key element in the intelligence gathering solution for L3Harris’ new VAMPIRE™ solution, providing long-range state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.
AEWE: Actions on the Objective
During AEWE, soldiers were presented with several scenarios in which to assess the systems, including identifying troops and military vehicles at a distance, through smoke and under various environmental/mission conditions. In each scenario, using WESCAM MX-Series systems, soldiers were able to easily estimate and then identify their targets.
On a simulated battlefield in full daylight, soldiers tested the infrared capabilities of WESCAM MX-Series systems and their ability to identify targets despite the presence of smoke. At 150 meters, a veil of smoke was fired to hide a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). Soldiers were then required to use the WESCAM MX-10 RSTA’s various infrared sensors, supplied by L3Harris’ Mason, Ohio facility, to identify the HMMWV through the smoke. Using the integrated medium wave infrared (MWIR) camera, the vehicle, including driver was easily seen despite the presence of heavy smoke. In addition, the blended short-wave infrared (SWIR) and MWIR cameras provided a thoroughly detailed scene to identify both the vehicle and unique environmental features.
The Soldier’s Perspective
During the experiment, soldiers provided positive feedback.
“The WESCAM MX-10 RSTA would be an effective upgrade to current systems in place,” one soldier said after using the sight. “Multiple cameras made it very easy to recognize targets in all situations especially through the smoke.” When asked about the effectiveness of the sensors to increase abilities to detect, recognize and identify targets in an operational environment, soldiers also commented that, “WESCAM MX-Series sensors would increase the engagement cycle of soldiers at the tactical edge [and] would increase the ability of a vehicle’s crew to gain greater situational awareness.”
This year’s AEWE also presented L3Harris the opportunity to demonstrate the company’s dedicated service and support available for its products, with a team of specialists available 24/7, providing customers with reduced repair turn-around times, lower total cost of ownership, need-centric training and minimal administrative delays.
Whether it be the integration of multi-spectral and multi-sensor EO/IR imaging and targeting sensor systems at forward operating bases, or the wider support of mission equipment packages on board tactical ground vehicles, L3Harris is advancing missions with next-generation, ground-based capabilities.
Designed to enhance the mission performance of all classes of land vehicles, L3Harris’ WESCAM MX-Series of EO/IR land sights are industry leaders in observation, resolution, magnification, stabilization and precision.