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Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL)

AN/ASQ-223 Airborne Reconnaissance Low - Multifunction (ARL-M)
Crazy Hawk

The Airborne Reconnaissance Low - Multifunction system, designated AN/ASQ-223 and also known as Crazy Hawk, improves commanders' situational awareness and contributes to their understanding of the environment by providing day and night, near all-weather, near real-time airborne communications and imagery intelligence collection and designated area surveillance. ARL provides the commander with a multi intelligence collection capability to accurately detect, identify, track, and report on targets of interest in near real time. The platform provides COMINT intercept, DF, and special signals exploitation capabilities. It finds, fixes, and identifies targets of interest, and provides actionable intelligence direct to BCT. It also provides full motion video (FMV) feed to the tactical commander. It provides broad-area surveillance and focused stare on target areas of interest, both point and area targets. It is capable of tactical over-watch of ongoing operations, and provides real-time down-link of moving target indicator (MTI) data to the Common Ground Station at the Brigade Combat Team level up to echelons above corps level. The system is mounted on a specially configured DeHavilland Canada DHC-7 aircraft, originally designated as the RC-7B in 1996, and redesignated as the EO-5C in 2004.

The Airborne Reconnaissance Low - Multifunction (ARL-M) system is day/night, all weather reconnaissance intelligence asset developed and fielded by the Army in support of an urgent requirement for a low profile intelligence aircraft. It consists of a modified DeHavilland DHC-7 fixed-wing aircraft equipped with communications intelligence (COMINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT), and Moving Target Indicator/Synthetic Aperture Radar (MTI/SAR) mission payloads. The payloads are controlled and operated via onboard open-architecture, multi-function workstations. Intelligence collected on the ARL-M system can be analyzed and recorded on the aircraft workstations in real-time or stored on-board for post-mission processing. During multi-aircraft missions, data can be shared between cooperating aircraft via ultra high frequency (UHF) air-to-air datalink to allow multi-platform COMINT geolocation operations. The ARL system includes a variety of communications subsystems to support near-real-time dissemination of intelligence and dynamic retasking of the aircraft. The ARL-M system was designed to be deployable to any theater within 4 hours of notification. ARL-M systems are self-deployable and self-sustaining for 7-10 days. A deployment of 30 days could be supported by 2 C-130 sorties. The system was designed for forward deployment to host countries and can provide an immediate down link. It also provided direct support for wartime contingency operations and operations other than war. Unlike similar existing systems, ARL-M did not require a dedicated ground processing facility. Most communications were via SATCOM, which could pass data to any ground station within line of sight or via satellite communications. The system processed data on board and could then pass the data, including imagery, to most of the Army's existing intelligence systems. The individual systems could depart with the mission crew.

The ARL-M introduced upgrades to systems already installed on the interim ARL-I and ARL-C systems, and added MTI/SAR capabilities. Planned SIGINT collection improvements when the system was introduced also included the Superhawk radio intercept and direction finding (DF) system. Four onboard operators manipulated IMINT, SIGINT, and MTI/SAR data. ARL-M also had growth potential to include systems like the Communications High-Accuracy Location System Exploitation (CHALS-X), a second-generation FLIR, the Radar Ground Display System, and improvements to the airframe.

The SIGINT subsystem had a HF/VHF/UHF intercept and DF capable Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system. The IMINT subsystem was equipped with infrared line scanner (IRLS), forward looking infrared (FLIR), and daylight imaging system (DIS). The core complement of sensors could be augmented with low-light level TV (LLLTV), MTI cueing radar, SAR, multi-spectral camera, acoustic range extension system, precision targeting subsystem, and remote configuration using a direct air-to-satellite datalink.

The ARL-M system's radar provided high-resolution SAR images in all weather, day or night. The ARL-M was a multi-mode X-band SAR reconnaissance and surveillance system that had 2 modes of operation. Its Wide Area Moving Target Indicator (WAMTI) mode scanned a 10,000-square-kilometer area in less than a minute, detecting ground movers, which were depicted on a cartographic map of the area. The depicted symbols provided target direction and location information. The SAR spot mode provided 1.8 meter resolution imagery of a 10-square-kilometer area. The WAMTI mode detected movers and provided a cue to invoke the spot mode for a SAR image of the same area. With its high-quality imagery and moving target indication capabilities, the ARL-M could be used for border surveillance, ground force movement, littoral region activities, land mapping, and resource management.

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Page last modified: 17-08-2012 19:00:37 ZULU