Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) is a self-deploying, multisensor, day and night, all-weather reconnaissance and intelligence system. It consists of a modified DeHavilland Canada (DHC)-7 fixed-wing aircraft equipped with communications intelligence and imagery intelligence (COMINT/IMINT), Ground Moving Target Indicator/Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and electro-optical and infrared full-motion video capability. The payloads are controlled and operated via onboard open-architecture, multifunction workstations. Intelligence collected on the ARL can be analyzed, recorded and disseminated on the aircraft workstations in real time and stored onboard for post-mission processing.
The ARL system includes a variety of communications subsystems to support near-real-time dissemination of intelligence and dynamic retasking of the aircraft. It provides real-time down-link of Moving Target Indicator (MTI) data to the Common Ground Station at the Brigade Combat Team through echelon-above-corps level. Seven aircraft are configured as ARL-Multifunction (ARL-M), equipped with a combination of IMINT, COMINT and SAR/MTI payload and demonstrated hyperspectral imager applications and multi-intelligence data fusion capabilities.
The ARL systems currently hosted on DHC-7 airframes will soon be replaced by more capable DHC-8-315 airframes. By leveraging existing DHC-8 platforms currently used within operational Quick Reaction Capability programs, the Army will meet the recently approved Capability Production Document requirements with added aircraft performance capabilities.
BENEFIT TO THE WARFIGHTER:
ARL provides tactical commanders with day and night, near-all-weather, real-time airborne COMINT/IMINT collection and a designated area surveillance system. It can support collection requirements of Brigade Combat Teams and higher echelons across the full range of military operations, including coalition support processes.