History of L3 MAS
The Canadian government chooses the CF-18
In April 1980, the Canadian government announces its intention to replace its aging aircraft fleet, at the time CF-101 Voodoo, CF-104 Starfighter and CF-5 Freedom Fighter. The Canadian government starts to look for an aircraft capable of flying long distances and performing interceptor/strike missions. They choose the F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet, first series of models A (single-seat) and B (two-seat).
In 1982, Canada buys 138 Hornets from the manufacturer McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). They are introduced gradually up until 1988.
Canadair and Bombardier come into play
The Canadian government launches its 10-year life extension program for its Hornet fleet, and Canadair becomes the principal contractor of the CF-18 System Engineering Support (SES) program in 1986. The Canadair defence group is responsible for managing the program, the integrated support of the airframe, and CF-18-related systems. Its principal subcontractor, CAE Electronics, is responsible for carrying out computer-controlled avionics, as well as simulator design and construction.
Following its contract with the Department of National Defence (DND), the company decides to build its facilities on the premises of the Mirabel International Airport to better answer the needs of its operations. The employees move into their new modern facilities on April 27, 1990, and L3 MAS invites its business partner, CAE, to rent a space to encourage better communication and facilitate their approach in accomplishing the work.
At that time, there are a bit more than 500 employees who carry out military operations at Mirabel. Canadair/Bombardier can also count on the support of teams on CF-18 bases: 3 Wing in Bagotville, Québec as well as 4 Wing in Cold Lake, Alberta.
The CF-18 progressive modernization program takes effect in 2001. It will considerably modernize 80 Hornets such as the radio communication system, mission avionic system, weapon system as well as the structural integrity of the fuselage, wings and tail. This will increase the service life and operational efficiency of the fleet.
A new name to remember: L3 MAS
In 2003, L-3 Communications, a multinational company headquartered in New York, is searching for new business opportunities in Canada. During this time, Bombardier announces its intention to sell its military business section to concentrate on its main activities as a manufacturer and supplier of air and rail transport. L-3 Communications buys Bombardier Defence Services on November 1, 2003. The old Bombardier division takes a turning point and becomes a company in its own right; it is now named L-3 Communications MAS Canada. The company takes on new daunting challenges, one of which is to stand on one’s own two feet.
L3 MAS integrates itself in the L3 Technologies structure, which has its own history based on a vision in electronic defence and which is always looking to grow and diversify its operations in the military field. It was founded by Frank C. Lanza, Robert V. LaPenta and Lehman Brothers in 1997. The company starts with an amalgamation of a dozen of abandoned business units from Lockheed Martin. Since its creation, this multinational buys companies each year.
L3 MAS at the heart of success
A bid, presented jointly with Sikorsky in 2004, allows L3 MAS to win an important contract, including the delivery and maintenance of 28 CH-148 Cyclone Maritime helicopters. The company is responsible for the In-Service Support (ISS) of the helicopter for 20 years and delivery begins in November 2010. These new aircraft will take over the functions of the CH-124 Sea King of the Canadian fleet.
Year 2006, for its part, is full of significant events. L3 Canada, which one of its divisions is L3 MAS, is named first defence company in Canada by the reputable magazine, Canadian Defence Review. To emphasize this great success, their president, Frank C. Lenza congratulates and acknowledges all Canadian divisions of L3 Technologies through a video. Hardly a few months later, this business leader and cofounder passes away at 74 years old, leaving behind him a legacy of his business vision.
In August 2006, the CF-18 modernization team completes Phase I of the Modernization Program by delivering the 80th modernized aircraft to the Department of National Defence (DND). This great success ensures Phase II of the Modernization Program. In October, L3 MAS is proud to celebrate its 20-year CF-18 contract anniversary with dignitaries and DND clients.
The year ends with a changing of the guard. Michael T. Strianese is now president and CEO of L-3 Communications. He brings with him new management to the company’s operations. Starting in January 2007, all Canadian divisions no longer report to L-3 Canada, but to the division responsible for its business segment, no matter where the company deploys its activities.
In 2009, L3 MAS successfully completed the last delivery of the CF-18 Modernization Program Phase 2 and the completion of the RAAF Center Barrel Replacement program.
In 2010, L3 MAS announced the launch of its Aerostructures and Aircraft Services Center of Excellence. This new unit offers turnkey solutions in aircraft component design, systems integration, prototyping, manufacturing, test and certification, as well as repair and overhaul services.
Today, L3 MAS has over 800 employees to pursue its business vision and meet the expectations of clients. Each employee greatly contributes to the company’s history and its success!
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