Raytheon Deutschland GmbH expects to flight test its new Advanced Radar Detection System (ARDS) electronic intelligence (ELINT) payload on a General Atomics Predator B unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in the first half of 2018, company officials have confirmed.
Developed by Raytheon Deutschland's Space and Airborne Systems business under private venture funding, ARDS is an advanced exploitation of digital receiver technology being embodied as an upgrade of the Emitter Location System (ELS) fitted to German and Italian Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR) Tornado aircraft. This new configuration, known as dELS, is now in production and completing final certification ahead of fielding on the ECR Tornado in early 2018.
According to Andreas Radermacher, Raytheon Deutschland's managing director, ARDS is based on the same dELS technology but incorporates further improvements in terms of hardware, firmware, and software.
"This is a new high-sensitivity payload designed for long-range, long-endurance reconnaissance missions," Radermacher told the EW Europe 2017 conference in London.
"Integrated into a standard pod that will be mounted on the centreline hard point of Predator B, it will [provide] passive, wide-area ELINT over land and sea and enable high-fidelity detection and precision direction finding [DF] of RF [radio frequency] emitters to auto-generate the electronic order of battle."
He added, "Predator B is the ideal platform for ARDS as it deploys the capability with significantly greater endurance at much lower cost per flight hour compared with other platforms.
"Right now, Predator users are limited to radar and electro-optical sensors. What ARDS brings is a complementary capability for ELINT and electronic reconnaissance."
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