The Highlighter system is an airborne intelligence system that can simultaneously conduct measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) and imagery intelligence (IMINT missions). The Highlighter system is a contractor-owned/contractor operated system that provides the tactical commander the data needed to conduct counter improvised explosive device (C-IED) operations utilizing change detection. The system performs change detection in a rural to semi-urban environment only during daylight hours.
The Highlighter system consists of a Beechcraft King Air A-200T (C-12 equivalent) aircraft with mission survivability equipment, 3 high-resolution electro-optical cameras, and computer hardware and software with change detection algorithms. The change detection products provide the tactical commander with high-resolution imagery that is used to depict changes in their area of operation. Still images may be received via the One System Remote Video Terminal. It has an onboard analysis capability with dedicated in-flight operator. Video is disseminated to ARST via Ku-band data link. Image products are disseminated to Aerial Reconnaissance Support Teams via INMARSAT. All products are available via the Task Force ODIN SIPR architecture.
Highlighter was fielded in 2006 through the Rapid Fielding Initiative Office to support counter-IED operations in Iraq. It was successfully integrated into Task Force ODIN.
On 13 February 2009, General Atomics Technologies Corporation of San Diego, California was awarded a $30,156,316 cost plus fixed fee contract for 25 months of operation and sustainment support of the Highlighter change detection system in Operation Iraqi Freedom locations. Work was to be performed in Iraq (97 percent); in San Diego, California (2 percent); and in Arlington, Virginia (1 percent), with an estimated completion date of 28 February 2011. Bids were solicited by sole source and one bid was received. US Army Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Center at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey was the contracting activity.
As of June 2010, Highlighter was fielded as a quick reaction capability niche system deployed in the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations.
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