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Harris Corporation
IndustryAerospace and defense
Founded1895; 128 years ago (1895)
FounderAlfred S. Harris
DefunctJune 28, 2019; 3 years ago (2019-06-28)
FateMerged with L3 Technologies
SuccessorL3Harris Technologies
HeadquartersMelbourne, Florida, U.S.
Key people
William M. Brown, Chairman, (president & CEO since November 1, 2011)
ProductsDefense and Communications
RevenueUS$4.936 billion (2019)
US$4.507 billion (2018)
Number of employees
17,000[1] (2017)
DivisionsCommunication Systems, Electronic Systems, Space and Intelligence Systems

Harris Corporation was an American technology company, defense contractor, and information technology services provider that produced wireless equipment, tactical radios, electronic systems, night vision equipment and both terrestrial and spaceborne antennas for use in the government, defense and commercial sectors. They specialized in surveillance solutions,[2] microwave weaponry,[3] and electronic warfare.[4] In 2019, it merged with L3 Technologies to form L3Harris Technologies.

Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company had approximately $7 billion of annual revenue. It was the largest private-sector employer in Brevard County, Florida (approximately 6,000).[5] From 1988 to 1999, the company was the parent of Intersil, under the name Harris Semiconductor.

In 2016, Harris was named one of the top hundred federal contractors by Defense News.[6] In January 2015, Wired Magazine ranked Harris Corporation—tied with U.S. Marshals Service—as the number two threat to privacy and communications on the Internet.[7]


Harris Corporation logo used from 1974 to 1998
Harris Corporation logo used from 1974 to 1998
Harris MR80C88 processor
Harris MR80C88 processor

The "Harris Automatic Press Company" was founded by Alfred S. Harris in Niles, Ohio, in 1895. The company spent the next 60 years developing lithographic processes and printing presses before acquiring typesetting company Intertype Corporation.

In 1957, Harris acquired Gates Radio, a producer of broadcast transmitters and associated electronics gear, but kept the Gates brand name alive by putting the Gates sticker on the back of numerous transmitters that were labeled Harris on the front panels.[8]

The same year, they acquired Intertype Corporation, a type foundry based in New York, New York.[citation needed]

In 1959, they acquired microwave technology company PRD Electronics, also headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.[citation needed]

In 1967, they merged with Radiation Incorporated (formed in 1950) of Melbourne, Florida, a developer of antenna, integrated circuit and modem technology used in the space race. The company headquarters was moved from Cleveland to Melbourne in 1978.[9]

In 1969, Harris Corporation acquired RF Communications and Farinon Electric Corporation, furthering its microwave assets. The printing operations were sold off in 1983 and became part of manroland Goss in 2018.[10]

In 1974, Harris acquired Datacraft Corporation, which led to the formation of the Harris Computer Systems Division. The division made a line of minicomputers for the real-time systems market. In 1994, the division was spun out into the independent Harris Computer Systems Corporation.[11]

In 1979, Harris formed a semiconductor joint venture Matra Harris Semiconductors (MHS), from which Harris withdrew in 1989. After further changes MHS was taken over by Atmel.[12]

In 1983, Harris acquired Lanier Business Products, Inc., a dictation, word processing and computer company based in Atlanta, Georgia. By the start of the 1990's, Lanier accounted for about 1/3 of Harris Corporation's revenues. In 1998, Harris spun Lanier back off as a publicly-traded company, but also saddled it with over $700 million in debt.[13]

In 1988, Harris acquired GE's semiconductor business, which at this time, also incorporated the Intersil and RCA semiconductor businesses. These were combined with Harris' existing semiconductor businesses.

In 1996, Harris Corporation formed a joint venture with Shenzhen Telecom Company to produce and sell Harris' digital microwave radios and integrate them with other systems.[citation needed][clarification needed]

In November 1998, Harris sold its commercial and standard military logic (semiconductor) product lines to Texas Instruments, which included the HC/HCT, CD4000, AC/ACT and FCT product families. Harris retained production of the Radiation Hardened versions of these products.

In 1999, Harris spun off their remaining semiconductor business as an independent company, under the Intersil name.

In 2005, the corporation spent $870 million on research and development.[14]

Harris Corporation developed a Hand Held Computer for use during the address canvassing portion of the 2010 United States Census.[15] Secured access via a fingerprint swipe guaranteed that only the verified user had access to the unit. A GPS capacity was integral to the daily address management and the transfer of information that was gathered. Of major importance was the security and integrity of the personal and private information of the populace.

In January 2011, Harris re-opened its Calgary, Alberta avionics operation, Harris Canada Inc.. The expanded facility's operations include among others the support of the work to be completed under the company's six-year, $273 million (CAD) services contract with the Government of Canada for the CF-18 Avionics Optimized Weapon System Support (OWSS) program.[16]

In December 2012, Harris Corporation sold its broadcast equipment operations to the Gores Group which operated as Harris Broadcast[17] and is now GatesAir. Harris received $225M for the transaction, exactly half of what it paid seven years earlier for Leitch Technology, its final acquisition for the Broadcast division.[18]

On May 29, 2015, the purchase of competitor Exelis Inc. was finalized, almost doubling the size of the original company.[19]

In July 2015, Harris Corporation sold its healthcare division, Harris Healthcare Solutions, to NantHealth.[20]

In January 2017, Harris sold off its government IT services division to Veritas Capital for $690 million.[21] After being acquired by Veritas, this business was renamed Peraton.[22]

In October 2018 Harris announced an all-stock "merger of equals" with New York-based L3 Technologies, to be closed (subject to approvals) in mid-2019. The new company, called L3 Harris Technologies, Inc., is based in Melbourne, Florida.[23]

In 2019, Elbit Systems of America, the American division of the Israeli Elbit Systems, agreed to purchase Harris's night vision product line for $350 million, contingent on the completion of Harris's merger with L3. Federal regulations had required that Harris divest its night vision business as L3 already had its own night vision business and merger between the two companies would effectively eliminate competition in the industry.[24] That purchase closed in September 2019, and Harris Night Vision was subsequently renamed Elbit Systems of America - Night Vision.[25][26]

Business segments

Communication Systems

The Harris Communication Systems segment served markets in tactical and airborne radios, night vision technology and defense and public safety networks.

Electronic Systems

The Harris Electronic Systems segment provided products and services in electronic warfare, air traffic management, avionics, wireless technology, C4I, undersea systems and aerostructures.

Electronic Systems (ES) division provided the "ALQ-214" radio frequency jamming equipment for the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. The ALQ-214 was originally developed by Exelis ES, which Harris acquired in 2015.[27] ES is also a provider of components in the avionics package and targeting systems for the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 and EA-18 Growlers.[28]

Space and Intelligence Systems

The Harris Space and Intelligence Systems segment, formed when Harris purchased Exelis,[29] provides capabilities in Earth observation, weather, geospatial monitoring, space protection and intelligence, including sensors and payloads, ground processing and information analytics.[30]

Cell-site simulators

Harris Corporation produced multiple cell-site simulator products, such as the StingRay and Hailstorm phone trackers (see table below); These masquerade as legitimate cellphone towers duping mobile devices to connect to them instead of real cellular networks, so all wireless voice and data traffic originating in a given area are intercepted by the systems, enabling Stingray operators to conduct mass surveillance and triangulate the position of mobile devices.[31][32]

Originally developed for the U.S. Navy and later used in the global "war on terror" outside the US, they have increasingly been used by US police agencies.[33] More than six U.S. federal agencies use these platforms, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says at least 53 law enforcement agencies in 21 states, use this or similar devices.[34]

These platforms are controversial[35][36] as they surveil communications of all mobile devices in their vicinity, including those of individuals not suspected of any crimes.[37][38] Harris have been criticized by civil rights advocates for requiring local municipalities, police and state governments to enter into non-disclosure agreements (NDA)[39] and to conceal usage of these platforms from citizens and the courts.[40][41] Such NDA may violate public record and open access laws. The ACLU, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed two successful civil lawsuits over denied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and violations of the public records laws of Florida.[42][43][44]

In September 2014, as a result of successful litigation, ACLU received documents and emails between Harris Corporation and the Federal Communications Commission relating to FCC approval of Harris' surveillance systems.[45] ACLU then sent a letter to FCC stating, in their view, Harris misled FCC Office of Engineering and Technology staff during the regulatory review process by falsely claiming the systems were only used in emergency situations and not criminal investigations.[46]

In 2006, Harris employees directly conducted wireless surveillance using StingRay units on behalf of the Palm Bay Police Department—where Harris has a campus[47]—in response to a bomb threat against a middle school. The search was conducted without a warrant or judicial oversight.[48][49][50][51]

In 2015, Santa Clara County withdrew from contract negotiations with Harris for StingRay units, noting the reason was the onerous restrictions imposed by Harris on what could be released under public records requests.[52]

Mobile Phone Monitoring Products from Harris Corp.[53][54][55][56]
Product Introduced Cost Features
StingRay 2001 $68,479 IMSI-catcher. Gathers information from mobile phones including location and metadata
StingRay II 2007 $134,952 IMSI-catcher. Gathers information from mobile phones including location and metadata
Kingfish 2003 $25,349 Surveillance transceiver for tracking mobile phones
Amberjack 2002 $35,015 Directional antenna used to help track mobile phones; used in conjunction with StingRay, Gossamer and Kingfish
Harpoon 2008 $16,000–19,000 Linear amplifier to boost the signal of a StingRay or Kingfish
Hailstorm ? $169,602 IMSI catcher. Gathers information from mobile phones including location and metadata. Also can intercept content.
Gossamer 2001 $19,696 IMSI catcher, smaller than StingRay, can be used for denial-of-service attacks on phones.
Triggerfish 1997 $90,000–102,000 Intercepts mobile conversations in real time. May be obsolete

List of Harris acquisitions

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Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Harris". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  2. ^ "Surveillance". Harris Corporation. January 17, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "RF and Microwave Development and Systems". Harris Corporation. January 17, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "Electronic Warfare". Harris Corporation. January 17, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Brevard County Public Schools Archived 2013-11-09 at the Wayback Machine, 10 October 2013
  6. ^ "Defense News - Top 100". Archived from the original on 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2015-03-02.
  7. ^ "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet Right Now". Wired Magazine. January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  8. ^ "HARRIS-INTERTYPE; Buys Gates Radio Co., Maker of Electronics Equipment". The New York Times. 1957-11-06. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  9. ^ "HARRIS-INTERTYPE MAPS ACQUISITION; To Merge With Radiation, Inc., of Melbourne, Fla". The New York Times. 3 April 1967. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Heidelberger Druck gibt Rollenoffset-Sparte an Goss ab - Kein Preis genannt". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  11. ^ a b Lorek, L. A. (March 12, 1995). "Harris Hawkish About Its Future". South Florida Sun-Sentinel •.
  12. ^ "Atmel Buys MHS, Again – The Twisted History of Atmel, Temic and MHS". 5 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Lanier Business Products division of Harris".
  14. ^ Peterson, Patrick (17 October 2010). "Harris considers PB overhaul". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1E.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Weinberg, Daniel. "Management challenges of the 2010 U.S. Census" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  16. ^ Harris Corporation. "Harris Corporation". Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  17. ^ Harris Corporation. "Harris Corporation to Sell Broadcast Communications to The Gores Group for $225 Million". Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  18. ^ Leitch agrees to $450 million acquisition by Harris, BroadcastEngineering, 1 September 2005
  19. ^ "Harris Corporation Completes Acquisition Of Exelis". 2015-05-29. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  20. ^ "NantHealth Acquires Harris Healthcare Solutions". 2015-07-16. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  21. ^ Reuters Reuters Deals
  22. ^ "Peraton is the New Name of Former Harris Corporation Government Services Business". 28 July 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2018-10-15.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Justice Department Requires Harris and L3 to Divest Harris's Night Vision Business to Proceed with Merger". United States Department of Justice. 20 June 2019. Archived from the original on 30 March 2021. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Harris selling night-vision business unit to Elbit". 8 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  26. ^ Eshel, Tamir (5 April 2019). "Harris Night Vision Acquisition - a Big Deal for Elbit Systems". Defense Update. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  27. ^ Tomkins, Richard (21 August 2015). "Navy orders more RF-jammers for its F/A-18s". United Press International. Retrieved: 28 August 2015.
  28. ^ "Harris Corporation upgrading avionics of fighter aircraft -". UPI. Retrieved on 31 August 2015.
  29. ^ "Evolving Harris' Space and Intelligence Business". Harris. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  30. ^ Harris Corporation. "Harris Corporation Announces New Organizational Structure".
  31. ^ Richtel, Matt (15 March 2015). "A Police Gadget Tracks Phones? Shhh! It's Secret". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  32. ^ Gallagher, Ryan (10 January 2013). "FBI Documents Shine Light on Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  33. ^ Cushing, Tim (20 January 2014). "Stingray Documents Show Law Enforcement Using 'Terrorism' To Obtain Equipment To Fight Regular Crime". TechDirt.
  34. ^ Kelly, Erin (August 4, 2015). "Congress targets secretive data-gathering program". USA Today. pp. 1B. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  35. ^ Boll, Jamie (4 June 2015). "Congressman calls for an end to controversial Stingray program". WorldNow, WBTV (Charlotte, NC).
  36. ^ Mecija, Melissa = (5 August 2014). "Local police dealt with company that makes controversial cellphone tracking technology". KGTV ABC10 San Diego. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  37. ^ Campbell, Jon (24 January 2013). "LAPD Spied on 21 Using StingRay Anti-Terrorism Tool". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2014. The portable StingRay device impersonates a cellphone tower, electronically fooling all nearby mobile phones — not just the suspect's phone — to send their signals into an LAPD computer. That signal reveals to police the location of phones in real time.
  38. ^ Valentino-Devries, Jennifer (22 October 2012). "Judge Questions Tools That Grab Cellphone Data on Innocent People". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  39. ^ Florida Department of Law Enforcement; Harris Corporation (8 June 2010). "FDLE non-disclosure agreement with the Harris Corporation" (PDF). American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  40. ^ Mike Masnick (20 June 2014). "New Emails Show That Feds Instructed Police To Lie About Using Stingray Mobile Phone Snooping". Techdirt. Retrieved 5 August 2014. ...police were claiming that non-disclosure agreements prevented them from getting a warrant to use the technology.
  41. ^ Nathan Freed Wessler (3 March 2014). "Police Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracker From Courts Because Manufacturer Asked". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 2 August 2014. Police opted not to get warrants authorizing either their use of the stingray or the apartment search. Incredibly, this was apparently because they had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the company that gave them the device.
  42. ^ "As Secretive "Stingray" Surveillance Tool Becomes More Pervasive, Questions Over Its Illegality Increase". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  43. ^ "VICTORY: Judge Releases Information about Police Use of Stingray Cell Phone Trackers". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  44. ^ "DOJ Emails Show Feds Were Less Than "Explicit" With Judges On Cell Phone Tracking Tool". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  45. ^ Nathan Freed Wessler; Nicole Ozer (17 September 2014). "Documents Suggest Maker of Controversial Surveillance Tool Misled the FCC". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  46. ^ "ACLU and ACLU of Northern California Letter to FCC" (PDF). American Civil Liberties Union. 17 September 2014. p. 2. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  47. ^ Nail, Derrol (23 February 2015). "Harris Corporation opens new tech center in Palm Bay". WOFL, Fox Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original on 9 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  48. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (25 February 2015). "Powerful "stingrays" used to go after 911 hangup, ATM burglary". Ars Technica. Retrieved 25 March 2015. ...Palm Bay Police Department simply borrowed a stingray directly from its manufacturer, the Harris Corporation—located down the road in Melbourne, Florida—to respond to a 2006 bomb threat at a school, absent any judicial oversight.
  49. ^ Detective M. J. Pusatere. "03.05.2014 PBPD Stingray Records (Bates Stamped) redacted" (PDF). Palm Bay Police Department, American Civil Liberties Union. p. 3. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  50. ^ Aaronson, Trevor (23 February 2015). "ACLU Releases Florida StingRay Documents". Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  51. ^ Rivero, Daniel (18 March 2015). "It's now a trend: third court orders the release of phone-tracking Stingray documents". Fusion. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  52. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (7 May 2015). "In rare move, Silicon Valley county gov't kills stingray acquisition". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 May 2015. What happened was, we were in negotiations with Harris and we couldn't get them to agree to even the most basic criteria we have in terms of being responsive to public records requests
  53. ^ Gallagher, Ryan (25 September 2013). "Meet the machines that steal your phone's data". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  54. ^ "Harris Corporation AmberJack, StingRay, StingRay II, KingFish Wireless Surveillance Products Price List". City of Miami, Harris Corp, Public Intelligence. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2014. This price list for Harris Corporation wireless surveillance products was published on the website of the City of Miami.
  55. ^ "Harris Corporation: Putting the "Sting" in Mobile Location Tracking". Insider Surveillance. 10 July 2014. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  56. ^ Gillum, Jack (22 March 2014). "Police keep quiet about cell-tracking technology". Associated Press, Yahoo News. Retrieved 3 August 2014. ...police didn't comply with the state's public-records law because they did not fully disclose Stingray-related records and allowed Harris Corp. to dictate what information could be made public.
  57. ^ "Lanier Business Products purchased by Harris Corp".
  58. ^ "Harris Corporation to Buy Defense Contractor Exelis for $4.7 Billion". February 2015.
  59. ^ Harris Corporation. "Harris Corporation Completes Acquisition of CapRock Communications". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  60. ^ "Communications company Harris Corp to acquire IT compliance organisation". May 2010.