Air Tractor, L3Harris to develop Sky Warden ISR aircraft
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Air Tractor and L3Harris to develop Sky Warden ISR aircraft

07 May 2021 (Last Updated May 7th, 2021 16:15)

Air Tractor has partnered with L3Harris Technologies to develop an affordable, production-ready intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) strike aircraft.

Air Tractor and L3Harris to develop Sky Warden ISR aircraft
Sky Warden is based on the rugged and capable Air Tractor AT-802, which features the largest payload capacity of any single turbo engine aircraft. Credit: Business Wire.

Based on Air Tractor AT-802, Sky Warden system will be designed to perform airborne ISR and other tactical missions in the harsh battlefield environments.

The AT-802U surveillance and light-attack aircraft is a heavily armoured version of the AT-802 agricultural and firefighting aircraft.

It is designed for deployment in airborne ISR, precision-strike, command and control, counterinsurgency (COIN), close-air support, weapons training, forward arming and refuelling point missions.

Air Tractor president Jim Hirsch said: “Air Tractor aircraft were developed precisely to operate in austere environments with limited infrastructure.

“Our aircraft are built to offer unparalleled flexibility, essential ingredients for special mission operators.”

The aircraft can perform ten-hour missions while carrying a 3,629kg payload.

It hosts L3Harris’ advanced communications, sensors and airborne ISR solutions, with capabilities such as take-off and landing on unimproved airstrips.

This enables the aircraft to be ‘deployed and co-located with special mission operators’.

The AT-802U has the ‘versatility and performance attributes’ to meet all Diverse Targeting operational phases-identify, patch, aim, engage and evaluate (F2T2EA).

L3Harris Aviation Services president Luke Savoie said: “Our mission systems, platforms, direct operators and sustainment teams have supported more than 1.3 million combat hours of special operations ISR and attack missions in the past ten years.

“Combining that experience with Air Tractor, one of the largest turboprop aircraft OEMs in the world, enables our team to design and provide a mature platform capable of operating anywhere in the world and provides the tools needed to support any mission.”