NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—A commitment by L3 Technologies [LLL] Chief Chris Kubasik when he took over leadership of the company nearly 18 months ago to begin to truly integrate its dozens of disparate and independent business units and better align them and their efforts with customer needs is paying off, a senior L3 official said on Tuesday.
Kubasik said then that his goal for L3 was to become a non-traditional sixth prime contractor to the Defense Department that provides innovative, agile solutions more affordably and timely than the traditional “Big 5” defense contractors. The company for years had said it was integrating its business units, which at one time numbered more than 100 but were down to 84 year ago, operating as “patchwork quilt” and no alignment, that is now “more focused on capabilities, on technologies, and on customers,” he said. This realignment will make it easier to integrate L3, he added.
Kubasik appears to be putting a sustained effort behind the realignment and integration to ensure the company is best positioned in a changing marketplace.
Stackley said that when he was in the Navy “five different L3s would” visit him to discuss programs, a business model that wasn’t good for the company or service. Now L-3 is going to its customers with “coupled” solutions to meet their requirements.
L3 provides solutions in every domain and at every level for platforms and warfighters, Sean Stackley, the Navy’s former acquisition chief and the president of L3’s Communications & Networked Systems segment, told reporters at a briefing at the company’s exhibit booth at the annual Sea-Air-Space convention. The realignment, consolidation and realignment of the company has made transparent L3’s capabilities that can be integrated to move up the food chain in terms of a top tier supplier or even as a prime contractor with “higher end solutions,” he said.
Communications and Networked Systems is one of three operating segments at L3 that posted $3.4 billion in sales last year and has 10,000 employees. Stackley, who joined L3 more than a year ago, said that across L3 there are 10,000 engineers and that when reviewing the company’s “broad spectrum of technologies, and what I tell folks, ‘there is no problem when we work collaboratively on the problem that we can’t solve for the Department of Defense.’”
For example, L3 is pursuing an opportunity with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) related to hypersonics that brings together “high-end technology” across the company that the “old L3” wouldn’t have entertained, Stackley said.
“MDA is a great example of where nobody would have thought to come to L3 to address this threat but when we looked across the capabilities we have and in a number of our different divisions and started thinking about a potential solution, we pulled those folks together, teamed with other technology centers, aimed at the MDA and off and charging,” he said. “It was non-traditional.”
Stackley declined to describe the specific problem that the MDA is trying to solve but noted that the agency was looking for a solution to hypersonics and “we discovered that we in fact have within our house the physics-based capability to deal with the hypersonic threat and we’re working closely with the MDA in that regard.” He mentioned that L3’s work here revolved around its Communications and Microwave Products sector within his segment and the “strong technical workforce” that discovered the company has the capability to meet the MDA’s needs.
He also gave another example where different elements of L3 had capabilities around beam-pointing, free space optics, electro-optic and infrared sensors, and power management that gives the company integrated, high-end capabilities and top-tier supplier for laser weapons systems that are provided by prime contractors Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Northrop Grumman [NOC] for their military customers.
L3 is in the final throes of a merger with Harris Corp. [HRS] and Stackley said that the company is still learning about the new capabilities the combined companies will possess. For now, acquisitions to close capability gaps are on the backburner until the deal with Harris concludes and the companies have a better idea of where L3 Harris stands, he said. The deal with Harris is expected to conclude within a month or two.