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L3 was formed as L-3 Communications in 1997 to acquire certain business units from Lockheed Martin that had previously been part of Loral Corporation. These units had belonged to Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta, which had merged three years before in 1993. The company was founded by (and named for) Frank Lanza and Robert LaPenta in partnership with Lehman Brothers. Lanza and LaPenta had both served as executives at Loral and Lockheed.
Training & Simulation Division of Raytheon Systems Co., based in Arlington, Texas. This company was formerly known as Hughes Training, Inc., and part of the Hughes Aircraft Defense Group purchased by Raytheon from General Motors two years earlier. The division traces its ancestry to the original company formed by Edwin Link, inventor of the airplane simulator, and accordingly was renamed Link Simulation and Training (now known as Link Training and Simulation).
KDI Precision Products, Batavia, Ohio. Electronic fuzing, safe and arm devices.
Litton Electron Devices from Northrop Grumman (renamed L3 Electron Devices)
Raytheon Aircraft Integration Systems (renamed L3 Integrated Systems; the Greenville, Texas facility is now known as L3 Mission Integration Division, while the Waco, Texas facility is now known as L3 Platform Integration Division)
SyColeman Corporation, which came about from the joining of Sy Technologies and Coleman Research Corporation.
PerkinElmer Detection Systems from PerkinElmer which became L-3 Security & Detection Systems.
Applied Signal & Image Technology, Linthicum Heights, MD. Geo-location systems for RF emitters.
Advanced System Architectures, a company based in Fleet, Hampshire, United Kingdom. L-3 ASA has core capabilities in the development and through-life management of complex information systems, data fusion and tracking solutions, and interoperable secure communications systems.
Crestview Aerospace, a company based in northwest Florida. Crestview Aerospace provides aircraft structures, major airframe assemblies, and military aircraft modifications for leading prime contractors and OEMs in the aerospace industry. (Sold in 2017 along with Vertex Aerospace and TCS.)
TRL Technology, a specialist defense electronics company based in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. TRL Technology is internationally known for development and innovation in the fields of interception, surveillance, electronic warfare, and communications.
In October 2018, L3 announced an all-stock "merger of equals" with Florida-based Harris Corporation, to be closed (subject to approvals) in mid-2019. The merger was completed on June 29, 2019, and the new company, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., is based in Melbourne, Florida, where Harris was headquartered.
As of 2017, L3 is organized under four business segments:
Aviation Products and Security
Power and Propulsion Systems
Precision Engagement and Training
Space and Power
Space & Sensor Systems
Maritime Sensor Systems
Worldwide Surveillance & Targeting Missions
Warrior Sensor Systems
Frank Lanza, CEO and co-founder, died on June 7, 2006. CFO Michael T. Strianese was named as interim CEO, and was later appointed Chairman, President and CEO of the company on October 23, 2006. In 2015, former Lockheed Martin executive Christopher E. Kubasik was named President and COO, with Strianese remaining as Chairman and CEO. On July 19, 2017, Strianese announced that he would retire as CEO on December 31, 2017, to be succeeded by Kubasik, but would remain as board chairman. As of January 1, 2018, Christopher E. Kubasik became Chief Executive Officer and President of L3 Technologies.
L3 Technologies was originally named L-3 Communications for the last initials of its founders Frank Lanza, Robert LaPenta, and Lehman Brothers. Despite the similarity in naming, there is no corporate connection between L3 Technologies, formerly known as L-3 Communications, and networking provider Level 3 Communications, whose name is often abbreviated "L3" in informal industry communication.
On December 31, 2016, the company company changed its name from L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. to L3 Technologies, Inc. to better reflect the company's wider focus since its founding in 1997. The company's website changed from L-3com.com to L3T.com, but the company's NYSE ticker symbol of LLL remained the same.
L-3 ProVision, Millimeter Wave Airport Passenger Screening System
L-3 eXaminer SX, 3DX, and XLB, Airport baggage scanning systems
In 2010 it was announced that L3's Special Support Programs Division had been suspended by the United States Air Force from doing any contract work for the US federal government. A US Department of Defense investigation had reportedly found that the company had, "used a highly sensitive government computer network to collect competitive business information for its own use." A US federal criminal investigation ended the temporary suspension on July 27, 2010.
On November 4, 2010 L3 issued a part purge notification to prevent future use of Chinese counterfeit parts, but did not notify its customers whose display systems suffered from much higher than expected failure rates.
EOTech defective holographic sights lawsuit
In 2015, L3 Technologies agreed to pay $25.6 million to settle a lawsuit with the U.S. Government. L3 was accused of knowingly providing the U.S. military with optics that failed in extreme temperatures and humid weather conditions. These sights were provided to infantry and special operations forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as civilians and law enforcement.
The civil fraud lawsuit was filed by Preet Bharara, in the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleged L3 officials have known since 2006 that the holographic sights being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan failed to perform as advertised in extreme temperature ranges. The lawsuit alleges that the FBI independently discovered the thermal drift defect in March 2015 and presented EOTech with "the very same findings that the company had documented internally for years. Shortly thereafter, EOTech finally disclosed the thermal drift defect to DoD." According to court documents, EOTech had advertised that its sights performed in temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and in humid conditions.
In temperature extremes the sights exhibited thermal drift, which is when the sight's point of aim differed from its point of impact.
The sights also suffered from reticle fading and parallax.