Recognizing the importance of communication systems which are described as the armed forces “nerve systems” which contribute to the victory, or perhaps, in case of failure, defeat or collapse of the forces, and that L3Harris is a world leader in producing state-of-the-art, reliable and mission-customized communication systems, Al Jundi Journal, met with John W. Koenig , L3Harris Vice President and General Manager UAE Integrated Systems and discussed with him their role in supporting armed forces of different countries with the right systems, the challenges they deal with, their cooperation in this field with the UAE and other related issues. Here are excerpts:
Can we have an overview about your company, L3Harris, its activities in the Gulf region, particularly in the UAE, your main products and the solutions you provide?
L3Harris Technologies has had a large presence in the UAE for more than 30 years and is a trusted partner in the region. We have a long history in providing tactical radios and C4ISR throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council.
L3Harris has a large tactical radio install base and have introduced and established tactical networks for many of our International customers around the world. We are a world leader in tactical voice and data communications, cameras & sensor data, and battlefield management systems design, integration, installation and support.
L3Harris is uniquely positioned as a ‘Missions Solutions Provider’. We have the people and processes to allow us to provide solutions faster and at lower cost than larger system providers.
Our breadth of technology, extensive partner network, local experienced support capabilities and expertise in the communications systems domain allows us to provide end-to-end solutions with less subcontractors & less layers resulting in less cost & quicker delivery.
L3Harris is a mission’s solutions provider, where we start with supporting our customers in identifying capability gaps, network or platform architecture design, equipment selection, system integration and testing – right through deployment, training, field service and support, maintenance and sustainment.
You are a world leader in producing communication systems, can you tell us the importance of communication systems which some describe as “the nerve system” of any armed forces, and the value your systems add to armed forces in the region and elsewhere?
L3Harris Technologies is a world leader in enabling joint all-domain operations and communication systems are the “nerve system” of any military force.
Fast, robust, resilient, and secure communication systems help connect any sensor to any shooter by moving information between and among those who plan, command and act in the military.
L3Harris works with partners in the region and around the world to provide customers with secure, resilient communications giving armed forces a significant advantage over any adversary.
What are the challenges and threats to these systems in modern warfare and your efforts to help your end-users conquer them?
Command, Control, Computers, Communication and Intelligence (C4I) systems must overcome challenges such as data governance and interoperability issues to be successfully relied upon.
C4I systems must operate effectively across all domains to exchange information in harsh and difficult environments, including extreme temperatures, rugged and remote terrain, high radio frequency interference, and potential adversary intercept and interference.
As communication systems play a vital role in connecting armed forces units in wartimes and peace and their failure may lead to suffering a military defeat instead of achieving victory, to what extent do you focus on the security aspect of your systems to make them immune to cyberattacks, jamming and adversary interception…?
Cyber security, encryption, and anti-jamming technologies and techniques all are major solution design considerations. We have worked very closely with our customers and business partners in the region to ensure we have extremely robust and secure C4I solutions.
When UAE seeks to acquire military systems, they have criteria in mind, such as compatibility of the systems with our harsh climate conditions, robustness, innovativeness, and most importantly, interoperability with existing systems, to what extent do your systems meet these criteria?
L3Harris Technologies C4I system solutions meet the harshest climate conditions and are designed to be secure, resilient and all-domain.
L3Harris has decades of systems integration experience and has successfully integrated with many of our customer’s current and legacy systems to create common operating knowledge. Doing business in today’s global economy also means partnering for mutual growth and prosperity, within each country, with local suppliers to provide “best-of-breed” equipment, applications and services to meet the customer’s expectations and benefit local economies.
As you know, threats change fast nowadays, to what extent does L3 Harris have the flexibility to adapt its systems to the new-emerging threats, or develop new solutions in response to these threats?
L3Harris Technologies provides all-domain solutions that allow our customers to gather and process data accurately, and quickly.
Our C4I system design and implementation solutions facilitate gathering, processing and correlation of new information to address new-emerging threats.
Our open systems architecture means that it allows flexible integration of new solutions and capabilities.
How can our armed forces benefit from your C6ISR solutions and what capabilities can they add to them?
L3Harris’ focus is to enable warfighters with C4ISR systems that are reliable, easy to use, supported, a total cost of ownership that fits within their budgets and provides growth and added expertise to the local workforce. With the technology, expertise and experience across the L3Harris enterprise, we can offer end-to-end services from beginning of a program through lifetime support.
How important is the UAE for L3Harris?
The United Arab Emirates is extremely important to the L3Harris global growth strategy. The UAE partnership is committed as one of L3Harris’ highest priorities worldwide.
L3Harris truly values the trust and confidence that UAE Government leadership and military forces have in our advanced defence technologies and professional relationships.
A reputation earned over the past 35 years with our C5ISR, mission systems and tactical communications fielded throughout every military service component.
L3Harris has developed long-lasting strategic partnerships with the local defence industry and is very excited about the new opportunities that lay ahead with EDGE Group and other local defence companies. Committed to investing in local industry to build on existing capabilities and support the UAE’s vision of being on the forefront of technology.
The UAE has proven itself a rare international leader that seeks to stabilize and modernize their country while working cooperatively with their allies.
L3Harris looks forward to building on our trusted partnership with the UAE to help the country reach its centennial 2071 goals.
In which domains is your cooperation with UAE best reflected?
Integrated C4ISR solutions:
• Integration of sensor data such as full motion video for surveillance in support of intelligence operations
• Track, display, organize information to enhance battlefield situational awareness
• Extending a tactical ground network to the air to provide the ability to view a real-time picture of the battlefield
• Integrate tactical networks with sensor and video assets to enable command decisions support
Integrated vehicular systems:
• Provide customized vehicle design, integration and test services
• Provide network connectivity and communications infrastructure
The Gulf region market is witnessing a fierce competition, what makes your products attractive to potential customers?
Customer requirements and missions vary regionally depending on what is going on in the world. However, across the board, there are common challenges that we look to focus on when working with our customers. We are an honest broker that provides best of breed solutions by considering:
• Ease of use – simple user interfaces to plan, setup, manage and maintain a network
• Reliability – the system needs to be there when you need it
• Resiliency – you hear the term ‘Spectrum Superiority’ often; what this really means is having the ability to avoid and/or being able to communicate through interferers
• Expense – cost is understandably always important; customers are looking at the Total Cost of Ownership throughout the life of a program through sustainment
• Localization – ever increasing focus area for our customers is to build up their local capabilities and expertise; beyond maintenance and support to design, and development
By utilizing our various radios, waveforms, sensors, cameras, data links and SATCOM products, we create ‘packaged solutions’ that provide flexible, scalable, quick deployment vehicular and shelter systems to support Border Security, Observation and Surveillance requirements.
Would you like to send any message through Al Jundi Journal to the defence community in the UAE and the GCC?
L3Harris has long-standing expertise and field-proven technologies to provide customers with the industry’s best end-to-end solutions.
L3Harris provides integrated systems in support of our customers mission needs such as Border security, Joint C4ISR, Intelligence Operations and Fire Control.
With L3Harris being a global leader in tactical radios, we are uniquely positioned to be able to provide solutions that are highly integrated with L3Harris tactical radios and waveforms allowing us to deliver customer-focused solutions faster and less expense than our competitors.
Additionally, with the merger of L3 and Harris, we now have access to a broader array of technologies and expertise in ISR and Integrated Mission Systems.
L3Harris will always have our customers best interest as the number one priority; we will be a partner, not a supplier; we will work with the customer and take the time to understand the mission requirements, and what we can provide within budgets and schedule.
Our guiding principles that we have followed since our inception – a commitment to quality, delivery and support; and ultimately, our customer’s success.
PROFILE «John W. Koenig»:
Vice president and general manager of the UAE Integrated Systems (UIS) division, L3Harris Technologies, Communications Systems Segment, Responsible for the UIS business area’s P&L as well as growth and business strategies.
He reports to the President of the Global Communication Systems (GCS) Sector. Prior to this assignment, he held positions of vice president of strategy and business development for Harris’ Government Communication Systems business, vice president of business development for the mission critical networks business area and the vice president of operations for the cyber integrated solutions business.
Aviat Networks, served as vice president of Global Sales Operations. Before tackling global sales at Aviat, he was the vice president of Product Line Management.
worked at Harris for 20 years in both the government and commercial divisions. He has held positions of increasing responsibility across the organization, including systems engineer, program manager, program director, and sales director. He served as vice president and general manager of the NetBoss business. In addition to leading NetBoss, Mr. Koenig served as vice president of Sales, Systems, and Service for the Latin America Microwave business
Bachelor of Science degree in computer systems engineering from Western Michigan University. Mr. Koeing is certified in Miller-Heiman Strategic and Conceptual Selling and successfully completed the Leadership Directions Executive Management course at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
Interviewed by: Mohamed Fahed AL Halabieh