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Lockheed Updating Roll-on/Roll-off ISR for C-130

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by Manmohan Yadav, Dec 8, 2011.

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  1. Manmohan Yadav

    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

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    Even as the U.S. Air Force starts flight-testing next week of a new version of its Senior Scout payload for the C-130J Hercules cargo plane, Lockheed Martin is working to add an electro-optical/infrared camera to the roll-on/roll-off signals intelligence package, company officials said.

    "In 2012, it will also have imagery capability," said Tom Boyce, Lockheed's manager for airborne collection and exploitation systems.

    The capability will be "an enhanced version" of those aboard the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency's Shadow Harvest program or the U.S. Marine Corps Harvest Hawk, which puts an infrared sensor ball and weapons kit on a KC-130J tanker, Boyce said.

    [​IMG]

    Unlike Harvest Hawk, Senior Scout won't carry weapons, he said.

    Lockheed can develop such ISR packages quickly and at lower cost because it uses the technology in multiple packages, said Charles Gulledge, head of business development for airborne reconnaissance systems.

    A lot of the technology is common to the company's entire Dragon family of ISR systems, he said. The new Senior Scout variant is slated to become operational next spring.

    Development work is well underway, with the EO/IR camera being built and slated to hit the lab for tests in February, Boyce said. If everything goes as planned, the camera will be mounted on a C-130 next autumn for flight testing, and become operational the following year.

    "We should expect the first use of that in 2013," Boyce said.

    Originally developed in 1991 by the Air Force's Big Safari office, the venerable Senior Scout package is being upgraded to work with the airlifter's J variant as well as with older planes, Boyce said.

    While the Senior Scout program is strictly for the U.S. government, the actual pallet housing the new sensor package could be exported to foreign customers.
     
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