Unmanned Platforms

Elbit expands Air Keeper family

24 July 2018
Elisra is integrating its Air Keeper multifunctional SIGINT and EW system onto a Hermes 900 UAV. Source: Elbit Systems

Elisra, the electronic warfare (EW) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) arm of Elbit Systems has developed a rotary-wing version of its Air Keeper multifunction SIGINT and EW system and is working on an unmanned aircraft version, Jane’s has learned.

The Air Keeper system includes an electronic support measures (ESM) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) module that operates in the 500 MHz to 40 GHz frequency range and automatically detects, intercepts, measures, identifies, and monitors ground-based, ship-based, and airborne radar systems. The communications intelligence (COMINT) and direction finding (DF) module operates in the 2 MHz to 6 GHz frequency band, including cellular interception, providing detection, demodulation, classification, monitoring, and geolocation.

The electronic countermeasures (ECM) module, which is integrated with the ESM and DF, is used to jam targets selectively, either automatically or manually. The communications jamming element, which includes a look-through capability, can be used against modern signals including frequency hoppers.

The COMINT and ELINT data is now fused using a data fusion engine developed by Elbit’s Sigmabit subsidiary, incorporating bespoke algorithms and machine learning capabilities. This feature is also used in other products across the group.

Air Keeper was launched in 2015 using the Airbus C295 tactical airlifter as a demonstrator. Jane’s understands that the system has been supplied to Colombia in this configuration, and to an unspecified Asian country on a similar platform.

Speaking at the 2018 Farnborough International Air Show, Eytan Eshel, vicepresident of Elisra’s SIGINT division, said Air Keeper has now been integrated on a “large” rotary wing platform and is operational, although he was unable to discuss specifics about the platform or the customer.

He added that integration on a rotary wing platform presented several challenges including noise (for COMINT) and the effect of the rotor blades.

Eshel also revealed that Elisra is also developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) version of the Air Keeper with Elbit’s Hermes 900 as the launch platform.

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