The US Army is seeking to develop a high-altitude warfare sensor that can fly over enemy territories, transmit data, and potentially even work as a jammer to disrupt an adversary’s communications system.
The project is called High-Altitude Extended-Range Long Endurance Intelligence Observation System, or HELEIOS.
Army capability manager for electronic warfare, Col. Daniel Holland, provided some key details about the device during a military forum on August 17, Army Times reported. HELEIOS will see a sensor attached to a solar glide device or an observation balloon, Holland explained.
The device will be capable of flying up to 60,000 feet (18.2 kilometers) above ground level, making it hard, if not impossible, for enemy forces to detect.
The army is looking for technology that can provide a “coherent, distributed, electromagnetic attack,” among other things, as stated by Holland.
“The idea is blanketing the deep area with low-cost ‘attritable’ sensors to enable deep sensing and deep effects,” he said. Attritable systems are low-cost, reusable, and ultimately expendable.
“Essentially our question is can we get the payload light enough to fly on this penetrating, high-altitude, attributable platform, get close enough to place our effects on target, likely with a special purpose electronic attack or RF-enabled cyber,” he explained further.
Project HELEIOS is expected to undergo initial testing during the upcoming Project Convergence exercises, sometime around the fiscal year 2022.