KWESST Micro Systems strives to be a soldier's best friend


The Ottawa-based company is a leader in advancing the modern networked capability of soldiers and responders with niche applications that make a critical difference for safety and effectiveness


Quick facts: KWESST

Price: 1.5 CAD

Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $62.07 m
  • Develops technology to boost combat soldiers’ safety and effectiveness
  • Technology employs ultra-miniaturization, integration of sensors, and AI
  • Engaged Retired General Rick Hillier, ex-Canadian Chief of Defence Staff

What KWESST Micro Systems does:

KWESST Micro Systems Inc (CVE:KWE) (OTCQB:KWEMF) is a soldier’s best friend.

The Ottawa-based company is a leader in advancing the modern networked capability of soldiers and responders, including the networked Soldier Systems mission of NATO and its allies, with niche applications that make a critical difference for safety and effectiveness.

KWESST has a diversified product line stemming from a single core technology — its proprietary Micro Integrated Sensor Systems Technology (MISST) — which involves ultra-miniaturization and integration of sensors, software, optics, ballistics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) that boosts mission capability.

The company also offers its Tactical and Situational Control System (TASCS), which streams real-time awareness and targeting information from any source (including drones) directly to a soldier’s smart device and weapon -- providing for a safer and more effective engagement of the enemy.

TASCS includes the variant IFM (Integrated Fires Module) system that integrates TASCS’ real-time awareness/targeting capabilities into many short-range and long-range weapons systems, including grenade launchers, mortars, sniper rifles, drones, laser defense, electronic decoys, and more.

Under the TASCS system, KWESST also offers its Augmented Weapons Sight (AWS), a system developed by AeroVironment Inc and KWESST to provide real-time situational awareness and targeting information via AeroVironment’s drones to the TASCS display on soldiers' smart devices and weapons systems.

How is it doing:

KWESST kicked off 2021 with three notable advancements designed to position the company for further growth.

In February, its shares began trading on the OTCQB Venture Market in New York, a premier marketplace for entrepreneurial and development-stage US and international companies. The company, which also still trades on the TSX Venture Exchange in Canada, now has exposure to a much larger potential investor base in the US.

But the biggest news so far is the recent hiring of retired Canadian General Rick Hillier who will lead KWESST’s new International Advisory Council, which will provide guidance on the company’s strategic build-out on a global scale.

General Hillier served as Canada's Chief of Defence Staff from February 2005 to July 2008. He is noted for "getting stuff done" and was instrumental in securing additional funding and modernized equipment for the Canadian military in support of Canada's mission in Afghanistan.

In conjunction with General Hillier’s appointment and the company’s US launch on the OTCQB, KWESST has established a wholly-owned US subsidiary and operating facility in Stafford, Virginia - near Washington, DC, the Pentagon, and thousands of military contractors - where KWESST systems can be assembled and showcased for US customers.

As for those customers, the company recently struck a follow-on order worth about C$1.1 million with a key US military customer to expand the use of its TASCS IFM system on an 81mm (millimeter) mortar platform.

KWESST said the 81mm mortar alone could ultimately be worth up to C$120 million in the US and another C$400 million worldwide, given the large installed base of 81mm mortars in service with so many NATO and allied forces. The company also said the system can work on 60mm mortars and other armaments.

Meanwhile, the company plans to bring to market in 2021 a new product - the Phantom electronic decoy for battlefields to deceive adversaries on the location of NATO friendly forces. NATO is highly interested in such technology that can be ultra-miniaturized for expedient deployment by ground personnel or drones. There is deep concern that without an effective decoy system, forces can be located easily and destroyed at scale.

KWESST pegs the addressable market for the Phantom electronic decoy at C$500 million in the US alone, and potentially the same for other NATO countries and their allies.

The company is also expanding its business model by getting into non-lethal technology designed for crowd control, military and law enforcement training, personal defence, and even high-action gaming.

To give it a foothold, KWESST recently acquired Low Energy Cartridge (LEC) technology from privately held DEFSEC Corporation, a company owned by KWESST executive chairman David Luxton.

Inflection points:

  • Bring Phantom decoy to market in 2021
  • Pursue global markets for TASCS IFM system
  • Achieve first overseas orders

What the boss says:

"We have a strong concentration of business with military customers in the US, so it makes sense to be listed there,” KWESST executive chairman David Luxton commented when the company joined the OTCQB in New York and on the launch of its Northern Virginia subsidiary.

“As well, there is obviously a much larger potential investor base in the US with an appetite for exposure to our kind of business. We expect this will expand our shareholder base and the liquidity of the stock to the benefit of all shareholders."

Contact the author: patrick@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMGraham

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