Radiant Falcon is an airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system that can simultaneously conduct measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) and imagery intelligence (IMINT) missions. The Radiant Falcon system is a contractor-operated system consisting of a DHC-8ER aircraft fitted with Ku Band synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) and ultra-high frequency SAR (UHF SAR) systems, an L-3 MX-20SW electro-optical/infra-red sensor, which includes a hyperspectral SWIR imager.
The system was in development by December 2008 as a quick reaction capability. The system was developed under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center. The aircraft had been deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan by 2011. The aircraft were used to, among other things, detect improvised explosive devices from the air and pass information to the route clearing teams on the ground so they could negate, dismantle, and/or destroy them. The US Army was the primary customer for intelligence provided by Radiant Falcon, but the aircraft could be tasked to support other US services or allied elements as well.
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