The US Air Force intelligence experts have developed a new web-based programme, the surveillance intelligence reconnaissance information system (SIRIS), to enhance remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) collaboration among ground, air and intelligence users.

The SIRIS data sharing, with the support of a web browser and Google Earth access, offers imagery, full-motion video, mission planning files, aircraft locations, sensor points of interest, signals intelligence and even weather.

USAF Headquarters Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Innovations Directorate remotely piloted aircraft subject matter expert Stephen Coffey said: "We chose a web-based solution that does not require a costly retrofit of the platform, and we created rapid, sustainable innovations that were non-compartmentalised."

The USAF Research Laboratory’s Human Factors Development team has expanded its internet coordinate extractor (ICE) programme in order to improve the capability of SIRIS.

ICE will be able to provide only significant information in Google Earth for RPA crews after monitoring up to 30-35 different chat rooms, enabling RPA crews to receive visual threat warning on their map display.

Intelligence Innovation Programs director colonel Dr Frances Deutch said: "We found out young airmen and even the pilots were hampered by existing technologies that did not permit a shared intelligence picture, limiting the ability to collaborate with each other.

"So if SIRIS and similar programmes are how we’re already doing business, why don’t we ensure these applications interact more cohesively? Data should be agnostic."

The intelligence team built on the ICE concept to deliver threat data succinctly in a format that is familiar to the pilots.