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L3Harris WESCAM MX™-10 EO/IR Sensor Technology

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Big Benefits Across Air, Land and Maritime Domains

As the WESCAM MX™-10 electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) system celebrates 10 years since its initial launch, we look at the service it provides customers, and how that has changed and expanded across air, land and maritime domains over the past decade.

Prior to the introduction of the WESCAM MX-10, the Airborne Law Enforcement (ALE) market relied on a single supplier who offered simple gimbal technology – a 2-axis turret without a passive isolator and with an external inertial measurement unit (IMU).

The WESCAM MX-10 innovated that ALE market by adapting, L3Harris’ core, field-proven technology from larger, more complex products. This smaller, capable and affordable commercial sensor system incorporates concepts from the larger WESCAM MX-15 and -20 products, including a 4-axis turret with an internal passive isolator and an optical bench-mounted IMU. Adaptable and versatile, the MX-10 delivers industry-leading operational effectiveness and reliability.

The ALE market was eager to use augmented reality (AR) moving systems to overlay street names and other geographical information dynamically onto live video. AR systems became the moving map of choice for ALE operators. Those systems require close registration between the map and the video, which in turn, requires accurate and stable geo-pointing performance from the sensor. The WESCAM MX-10 uniquely delivers the geo-pointing performance required by AR moving maps in its size class.

Deputy Sheriff/Pilot Doug Brimmer of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department standing in from of a service helicopter

The system provides the best target detection, recognition, and identification (DRI) range performance in its class, as well as the most accurate and stable target geo-location performance. This is a function of the cameras themselves, as well as the stabilization performance of the gimbal.

Price competitive in the demanding ALE market space, the WESCAM MX-10 gained a loyal following given performance, reliability and support benefits customers experienced over time.  From patrol to search and rescue, surveillance to fire assist and anti-poaching missions, the benefits and versatility of the system supports the important work performed by the operators in making the world a safer place for people and wildlife alike. See more at the Best of WESCAM MX-10 video

“L3Harris products have helped me in burglaries and robberies, day and night foot pursuits, weapons locations, stolen vehicle confirmation, and added protection for units on approach,” said Deputy Sheriff/Pilot Doug Brimmer of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. “When there is a scheduled protest, we can use the camera system, including the additional zoomed-in lens, from a further vantage point. We can then use the downlink system to broadcast our video feed to a fixed or handheld waypoint. In terms of search and rescue, we locate hikers in valleys, mountains and in the desert. We have located a plane crash at night thanks to IR picking up heat from the engine.”

Combat Vehicle in the Desert with a WESCAM Camera system

The WESCAM MX-10 is prevalent throughout the ALE market space. Further, L3Harris continues to see increased demand for system variants on domestic and international front line military platforms in air, maritime and land domains.

L3Harris leverages and adapts core technology to multi-domain environments such as inverted variants for ground and maritime applications, which continue to meet size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements.

Building on the original WESCAM MX-10 base design, the WESCAM MX-10MS (MS = Maritime System) is specifically optimized to withstand the harsh sea-going environmental conditions and excel during prolonged deployments providing unmatched situational awareness of all modern-day threats including coastal security, anti-piracy, navigational hazards or environmental monitoring applications.

a U.S. Naval ship at sea with a WESCAM MX-10 system insert

The WESCAM MX-10MS sensor suite on order from the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC)  for deployment onboard the fleet of Military Sealift Command ships will provide real-time situational awareness, reconnaissance and surveillance operations as well as coastal observation and navigational hazard support.

The CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is equipped with an L3Harris WESCAM MX-10, commended by operators in the field for its ability to carry out regular patrolling flights, on-demand incident monitoring missions and specific inspection operations.

Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System with a WESCAM MX Series Sytem

Idaho-based Owyhee Air Research (OAR) is at the forefront of using L3Harris aerial infrared technology in a wildlife and natural resource survey capacity. The WESCAM MX-10 enables OAR to perform its missions with less impact on the wildlife they are studying, thanks to the long-distance zoom.

“When we flew the WESCAM MX-10 system, it was pretty obvious right off the bat, the resolution, the quality of the infrared, the clarity and the stabilization. We didn’t fly any other system that was as stable as the MX-10,” said John Romero, President of Owyhee Air Research.

Electro-optical infrared camera image of deer in the woods captured with a WESCAM MX-Series system

That stability allows OAR to integrate geographical information systems mapping with visual information from the WESCAM MX-10 to ensure the most accurate wildlife surveys possible. Watch how Owyhee Air Research use their L3Harris WESCAM MX-10 EO/IR System.

L3Harris’ WESCAM MX-10 provides superior imaging resolution in low-visibility/no-visibility environments with its high-resolution short-wave infrared (SWIR) imaging technology – proven more effective at penetrating poor weather, such as haze and fog, versus color or near-IR imagers.

“There is a need to have an image capture system with high-quality sensors that can allow the EC135 (helicopter) to properly carry out both its monitoring and reconnaissance missions. The image capture is capable of altitudes that allow us to fly as discreetly as possible,” explained Major Daniel Benoit, Flight Test Engineer, National Gendarmerie Air Force of France.

Helicopter flying above a city with a WESCAM MX-Seireis system mounted on the underbelly

“We are continually focused on and working towards improvement to be increasingly effective for the field units in the acquisition of intelligence on a wide range of missions,” said Colonel Mael Sion, Commander, National Gendarmerie Air Force of France.

As of February 2020, global orders for WESCAM MX-10 systems have resulted in over 113 different agencies operating systems across 30 countries.  More than 750 MX-10 units have been fielded since the product’s first shipment just ten years ago. Of those units, 254 support ALE agencies.

Being able to See First and Act First is critical when called in to support time-critical life-saving missions. That is why L3Harris’ WESCAM MX-Series systems are trusted and fielded globally by military, homeland security and law enforcement agencies across air, land and maritime domains.

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