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Desert Owl
Desert Owl II

Desert Owl is an airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system that can simultaneously conduct measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) and imagery intelligence (IMINT) missions in near all-weather conditions. High-quality synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) imagery and coherent change detection products are collected through a long-range ultra-high frequency (UHF) SAR (UHFSAR) array. By conducting multiple flights over the same area, the software produces still images that indicate changes on the ground.

The Desert Owl is a contractor-owned/contractor-operated system that provides tactical commanders data to conduct counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) operations using coherent change detection. The system consists of a Beechcraft King Air A-200T (C-12 equivalent) fitted with the PenRad 7 UHFSAR system and the L-3 MX-15 electro-optical/infra-red sensor. The Desert Owl system provides the commander an intelligence collection capability to accurately detect, identify, and report changes in the environment. It provides the tactical commander with coherent change detection to assist in C-IED operations. The system provides full-motion video feeds in electro-optical and infra-red modes to one system remote video terminal, the Desert Owl ground control station, or through the Task Force ODIN SIPR architecture. It provides laser illuminator and designator for precision targeting, and feeds the FBCB2 and BFT digital command and control system.

On 28 August 2008, the Department of Defense announced that the US Air Force was modifying a contract with SRI International of Menlo Park, California. This action would provide Desert Owl Phase Two (Desert Owl II). The contractor would complete turn-key effort to deploy the PenRad 7 radar systems and modified King Air 200T aircraft for a 90-day deployment. The location of performance was Iraq. The contract modification was not to exceed $6,999,875. At that time, $3,429,939 had been obligated. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio was the contracting activity.

As of June 2010, Desert Owl was fielded as a quick reaction capability niche system deployed in the Central Command area of operations.

On 9 September 2010, SRI International of Menlo Park, California was awarded a $49,189,528 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract in which the government requires SRI International, under the direction of the US Army Corp of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center and with assistance from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization to provide necessary support, material and equipment, including training center and mobile ground station, to continue operations outside the contiguous United States of Desert Owl I, an existing advanced airborne penetrating radar system. Estimated date of completion was 31 March 2011, with work to be performed in Iraq. One bid was solicited and one bid received. The US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering Research and Development Center Contracting Office in Vicksburg, Mississippi was the contracting activity.

On 28 February 2011, SRI International of Menlo Park, California was awarded an $8,418,486 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The award would provide for material and equipment, including training center and mobile ground station, to continue operations of the Desert Owl I advanced airborne penetrating radar system. Work would be performed in Iraq, with an estimate completion date of 30 November 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. The US Army Corp of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center Contracting Office in Vicksburg, Mississippi was the contracting activity.




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