US Army Developing Enhanced Aircraft Sensors

US Army researchers are working on next-generation sensor technology that enhances aircraft scanning and detection capabilities.

Developed under the Full-Spectrum Targeting program, the technology will have automated scan-and-detect algorithms that allows air crew greater time to react and help them see “significantly farther than current reconnaissance aircraft,” the service stated.

Increases Aircraft Lethality

“This emerging sensor technology will significantly reduce the time to put fire on targets by identifying the threat and sending images of potential enemies directly to weapon systems,” C5ISR Center Aviation Branch Chief Paul Price said. 

“This allows the attack aviator to engage the enemy almost simultaneously as the imagery becomes available.”

Tested on Black Hawk 

Aspects of the technology were tested last fall using a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk as a substitute for the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA).

During the test, the Black Hawk escorted an air-assault mission, including three aircraft.

In the middle of the mission, an unmanned aerial vehicle detected a potential target and communicated that to the aircraft.

Detects Target From Greater Range

The Black Hawk then used its sensors to identify the target from a range greater than any other aircraft and dispatched coordinates along with the target image, facilitating its neutralization.

“This system will transform the weapons officer’s viewpoint from a soda straw to a wide-angle, high-definition view of the whole battlefield,” Dr. Brian Thomas, chief of C5ISR Center’s Unmanned and Fixed Wing Branch, said.

The technology is being developed by a team at the Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command. 


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