JED - February 2010 - (Page 15)

t he monitor news The Journal of Electronic Defense | February 2010 REVAMPED ARMY SIGINT AIRCRAFT READY TO FLY Flight testing of the Army’s first modernized and refurbished RC-12X Guardrail signals-intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft is scheduled to begin soon. The Army said early last month that the aircraft had successfully completed electromagnetic interference and compatibility (EMI/EMC) testing at Eglin AFB, FL, required for air worthiness certification. Northrop Grumman Mission Systems-ESL (Sacramento, CA) is the Guardrail prime contractor. The company is slated to deliver the first four RC-12X aircraft to the Army this summer. Guardrail is a modified Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200 twin-turboprop with a crew of two and fitted with communications and electronic intelligence (COMINT/ELINT) systems. It has a maximum altitude of 35,000 feet and can spend about five hours on station. Guardrail’s SIGINT payload is remotely controlled by operators in a ground processing station as the aircraft loiters in a stand-off position up to 180 km from its target area, and the SIGINT data are transmitted to the ground station for analysis. During the EMI/EMC tests, various combinations of the modernized aircraft’s avionics and sensor payload equipment were operated independently and simultaneously within a shielded chamber to identify potential sources of interference or compatibility issues. The Army’s Guardrail Modernization program is extending the service lives of 36 operational RC-12s by about eight years and standardizing their configurations and adding new hardware and software to improve their sustainability. Each aircraft is being taken out of the field and having its interior gutted and a new digital cockpit installed by Steven Aviation (Greenville, SC). Northrop Grumman is scheduled to complete delivery of all aircraft by 2014. The modernization program also is providing a suite of federated COMINT payloads with increased capability for irregular warfare missions. The core of the new COMINT suite is Northrop Grumman’s Enhanced Situational Awareness (ESA) system, a derivative of the Airborne SIGINT Payload (ASIP) the company developed for the Air Force’s high-altitude U-2 aircraft and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. The five other COMINT payloads are the Communications High-Accuracy Location System-Compact (CHALS-C) from Lockheed Martin MS2 (Owego, NY); a Special Signals exploitation package from Zeta Associates (Fairfax, VA) developed using the government’s non-proprietary X-MIDAS software environment; a High-Band COMINT system from Argon ST (Fairfax, VA); and two other classified systems. – G. Goodman

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - February 2010

JED - February 2010
The View From Here
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
New Solutions in Shipboard SIGINT
Technology Profile: What’s New in Antennas?
EW 101
AOC Industry and Institute/University Member Guide
AOC News
JED Sales Offices
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - February 2010