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Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL)

Airborne Reconnaissance Low - IMINT (ARL-I)
Grisly Hunter

The Airborne Reconnaissance Low - IMINT (ARL-I) system was one of 2 separate systems initially developed to meet US Southern Command's requirements. ARL-I had 3 separate imagery systems onboard: first-generation forward-looking infrared camera turret, a day-imaging system camera turret, and an infrared line scanner. The system could send RS-170 video imagery via downlink to commercial off-the-shelf systems, such as TACLINK II, which was a portable video receiver. Two onboard operators could record information on 8-millimeter videotape or transmit "live" to the ground forces commander. The system was mounted on a specially configured DeHavilland Canada DHC-7 aircraft, designated the O-5A.

ARL-I was a direct outgrowth of the Grisly Hunter program, which had begun in 1986 to develop an imagery intelligence system. The system had been tested on the RG-8A aircraft and a competition for an aircraft to carry the final system was subsequently held between the CASA 212 and Dominion Skytrader 800. The Skytrader 800 was selected as the winner and assigned the designation UV-23. However, before the aircraft could enter service, the US congress mandated in November 1990 that the Grisly Hunter system be combined with an airborne radio direction finding system also in development, resulting in the Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) program. The codename Grisly Hunter continued to be associated with the system and the ARL-I component of the ARL program.




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