General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) and Raytheon Deutschland have tested a recently developed Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) sensor.

The advanced radar detection system (ARDS) sensor was integrated into a wing-mounted pod and test-flown on the GA-ASI medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) MQ-9 Predator B remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS).

Developed by Raytheon Deutschland, ARDS is a fully digital, high-precision radar-detection sensor.

GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue said: “We’re excited to work with Raytheon Deutschland on this sovereign sensor capability. This system will provide high-performance ELINT capability to our European allies and potentially other global customers.”

The sensor is said to be a platform-independent, follow-on development of the digital emitter location system (ELS) currently in use on German Luftwaffe Tornado electronic combat / reconnaissance (ECR) version.

“GA-ASI noted that the system supported downlinking the data in real-time to the MQ-9 aircraft’s ground control station.”

Jointly funded by GA-ASI and Raytheon Deutschland, flight tests were performed at the Gray Butte Flight Operations facility near Palmdale, California, US.

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The demonstration involved flight testing against ground radar targets, which included testing of the system’s processing speed and geolocation precision.

Other than sensor performance, the companies also demonstrated the use of aircraft datalink and ground station elements.

The tests proved the system’s precision direction-finding and radar identification capabilities.

GA-ASI noted that the system supported downlinking the data in real-time to the MQ-9 aircraft’s ground control station.

The demonstration allows the company to expand sensor options and the mission spectrum of its MQ-9 aircraft systems.

For Raytheon Deutschland, the initiative represents a significant milestone towards the international marketing of ARDS.