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June 26, 2019 | International, Naval

L3 awarded $73.7M for Navy submarine photonics mast programs

By Allen Cone

June 25 (UPI) -- L3 Technologies Inc. was awarded a $73.7 million contract for repair, upgrades and overall services for the U.S. Navy's submarine photonics mast programs.

Ninety-eight percent of the work will be performed at the company's plant in Northampton, Mass., the Department of Defense announced Monday, and is expected to be completed by June 2025.

Naval fiscal 2019 other procurement funding in the amount of $2.1 million will be obligated on the first delivery order at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

A photonics mast is a sensor on a submarine that functions much like a periscope but without requiring a periscope tube. This prevents water leakage in the event of damage.

Virginia-class submarines include two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms, allowing the ship's control room to moved down one deck and away from the hull's curvature, according to the Navy.

The non hull-penetrating device significantly reduces the signature of the periscope, "making it less identifiable as a U.S. Navy submarine because it appears similar to existing periscopes," according to L3.

In 2013, L-3 was awarded a $48.7 million contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command to develop and build a new, slimmer version of its photonics mast for use on Virginia-class submarines. L-3 was contracted to produce up to 29 photonics masts over a subsequent four-year period, as well as engineering services and provisioning item orders with a contract maximum ceiling value of $157 million.

The newest variant is the Block 4, including the Vermont, which was christened in 2018 and became the 19th in the Virginia class. Nine other subs are currently under construction, according to the Navy.

L-3, which is one the leading submarine imaging providers in the world, will officially merge with Harris Corporation in an all-stock deal that will close on Saturday after receiving regulatory approval.

"Receiving these approvals marks the successful completion of a thorough regulatory review process - clearing the way for one of the largest mergers in defense industry history," William M. Brown, Chairman, CEO and president of Harris, said in a statement.

The company will be named L3Harris Technologies, Inc.

Harris provides services in three business segments: communication, electronic, and space and intelligence.

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