Defense contractor adds to Fort Wayne history of protecting America with new technology

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne company that aims to keep America safe is expanding.

On Thursday, L3Harris Technologies dedicated its new classified Farnsworth Innovation Center to support Department of Defense missile-defense satellite missions. The company is working on innovative technology to combat hypersonic weapons. These types of weapons are a new class.

“This is such a big part of Fort Wayne’s history and legacy,” said Ed Zoiss, president of space and airborne systems at L3 Harris. “They’re not like a traditional ballistic missile that comes at us on a ballistic trajectory. They’re maneuverable. The challenge we have is that our defense systems aren’t apt to properly detect and track this new class of weapons.”

The facility in Fort Wayne is creating a new class of tracking and sensing satellites that are able to track the new threat.

“We’ve traditionally had a very large defense industry in northeast Indiana. About 10 years ago, we lost a number of those jobs for a lot of reasons [such] as defense spending declined and for other reasons,” said United States Representative Jim Banks (IN-3rd District). “Now we’re rebuilding it, and L3 Harris is right on the front lines of rebuilding the defense industry in northeast Indiana.”

Rep. Banks added that as a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, it gives him a front-row seat to advocate for programs related to the defense industry.

He and United States Senator Todd Young both spoke during the dedication.

“L3 Harris have come up with a way to ensure that our nation stays safe and secure against missiles coming from other countries-that could be carrying nuclear weapons. It’s important to keep developing next generation technologies to prevent communist China from evading our defenses,” Sen. Young said.

The Space Development Agency awarded L3Harris its missile defense prototype program in October 2020. The Missile Defense Agency awarded the company a prototype contract to develop the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor in January.

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