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A new UAV intelligence technology demonstrated recently expands sensor options and mission spectrum of unmanned aerial vehicles. The development was the result of a collaboration between two defense giants, Raytheon Deutschland and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI).
They demonstrated the performance of the Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) sensor, Advanced Radar Detection System (ARDS). The payload was integrated and test-flown on an MQ-9 UAV.
During the flight tests, the system was deployed in a wing-pod configuration on a GA-ASI Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) MQ-9 Predator B RPA, operating from California.
The sensor is said to be a platform-independent, follow-on development of the digital emitter location system (ELS) currently in use on German Luftwaffe Tornado electronic combat / reconnaissance (ECR) version, according to airforce-technology.com.
The demonstration involved precision direction-finding and flight testing against ground radar targets, which included testing of the system’s processing speed and geolocation precision.
Other than sensor performance, the companies also demonstrated the use of aircraft datalink and ground station elements, with data downlinked in real-time to the aircraft’s ground control station.
Another collaboration was signed in July 2018 between GA-ASI and Leonardo, for the integration of Leonardo’s SAGE electronic warfare surveillance system onto the MQ-9B UAV. SAGE will be integrated into the UAV airframe without the need for an external pod, as reported by defense-aerospace.com.