Eye in the sky
Sophisticated tech delivers the big picture, in the air and on the ground
They begin in plainclothes: Civilian aircraft built for business or pleasure – the Beechcraft King Air 350, Bombardier Global Express and Gulfstream G550.
Then Raytheon goes to work, transforming these civilian aircraft into ultra-sophisticated surveillance planes, aligning futuristic airborne technologies to ground-based systems to deliver unmatched awareness. The right sensors, processing, mission system, platform, ground elements, training and sustainment create an integrated system that sees, identifies and delivers critical information for many missions, including humanitarian crises.
“In today’s battles, there can be adversaries on the ground, in the air, on and in the water and working in the cyber domain – and moving faster than lightning,” said Jim Hvizd, vice president of business development at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “The need for strong, secure, reliable, actionable intel is imperative.”
The Raytheon-transformed civilian aircraft are now airborne systems equipped with exportable sensor modes — synthetic aperture radar, ground moving target indicator, electro-optical and infrared — along with airborne signals intelligence and open architecture mission systems. This results in high-resolution imagery and data correlation capability in near-real time
The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force operates a fleet of Raytheon-equipped Sentinels. These sophisticated military surveillance aircraft are modified Bombardier Global Express business jets. They equip the U.K. with capabilities similar to the U. S. Air Force’s joint surveillance target attack radar system, JSTARS.
“I’ve flown the Sentinel,” said Phil Hoole, a six-year Sentinel mission crew commander, now Raytheon U.K. business development capture manager. “It is small; a crew of five can do what larger airborne surveillance platforms cannot; and it features the world’s most sophisticated, dual-mode radar.”
The Sentinel airborne stand-off radar, or ASTOR, includes synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator sensors. Long-endurance, all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance at high altitudes and long stand-off ranges support various missions. Sentinel has flown nearly 30,000 hours in support of contemporary operations.
Raytheon recently opened a technology development facility in Broughton, North Wales to be used for future international special mission aircraft programs the company is currently negotiating.
These next generation surveillance planes will be multi-mission aircraft that combine intelligence from multiple, connected sensors to give decision-makers comprehensive, situational overviews.
“New tools are already enhancing the Sentinel’s maritime surveillance, detection and tracking capability,” said Hvizd.
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