Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL)
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The Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Multifunction (ARL-M), designated EO-5C, is a legacy manned multisensor, day and night, all-weather Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (AISR) system. It consists of a modified De Havilland Canada (DHC)-7 fixed-wing aircraft equipped with Communications Intelligence and Imagery Intelligence (COMINT/IMINT), Ground Moving Target Indicator/Synthetic Aperture Radar and Electro-Optical and Infrared (EO/IR) Full-Motion Video (FMV) capability. Onboard operators control the payloads via open-architecture, multifunction workstations. Intelligence collected can be analyzed and disseminated from the onboard workstations in real time as well as recorded for post-mission analysis.

The Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced (ARL-E), designated RO-6A, is the Army’s newest manned multisensor, day and night, all-weather AISR system. ARL-E consists of a modified DHC-8-Q315 fixed-wing aircraft equipped with a reconfigurable payload with enhanced COMINT and IMINT sensors including long-range Ground and Dismounted Moving Target Indicator/Synthetic Aperture Radar high-definition EO/IR FMV, and Hyperspectral Imagery. The sensors are controlled and operated using onboard Distributed Common Ground Station-Army (DCGS-A) multifunction workstations. Intelligence collected on the ARL-E can be analyzed and disseminated in real time; transmitted via Beyond Line of Sight satellite communication; or stored onboard for post-mission analysis.

The more capable DHC-8-Q315 based ARL-E will replace the ARL-M systems (DHC-7) with the First Unit Equipped in Fiscal Year 2020. By leveraging former Quick Reaction Capability DHC-8 programs the Army has capitalized on the reutilization of previous Army investments, non-recurring engineering, improved airworthiness, and improved system availability for the Army ACAT II program of record requirements. There are currently seven ARL-M configured systems and there will be eight ARL-E configured systems and one trainer.


ARL provides tactical commanders with day and night, all-weather, real-time airborne COMINT/IMINT collection and a designated area surveillance system. It provides real-time down-link of actionable intelligence to Brigade Combat Teams and higher echelons across the full range of military operations, including coalition support processes.


  • Dual EO/IR Day/Night High-Definition F Sensors with Laser Range Finding and Target Designation Capability
  • Tactical Signals and Communication Intelligence/Direction Finding Subsystems with Theater Net-Centric Geolocation
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground/Dismount-Moving Target Indicator Radar
  • Hyperspectral Imagery/Long Range Radar
  • DCGS-A enabled workstations


1QFY16: Project Manager, Sensor-Aerial Intelligence (PM SAI) awarded Mission Equipment Package (MEP) contract for the ARL-E program; MEP integration will fulfill the ARL-E Capability Production Document sensor requirements
FY16: PM Fixed Wing (FW) delivered the first two ARL-E Cockpit/Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) modified aircraft for induction into the ARL-E MEP integration effort
FY17: PM FW delivered two ARL-E Cockpit/ASE modified aircraft for induction into the ARL-E MEP integration effort

  • PM SAI performs Systems Integration Laboratory/aircraft MEP integration
  • PM FW delivered two ARL-E Cockpit/ASE
  • 2QFY18: PM FW awarded contract for ARL-M and ARL-E aircraft sustainment


2QFY19: Delivery of the first two ARL-E systems
4QFY19: Complete Follow-On Test and Evaluation
1QFY20: First Unit Equipped
2QFY20: Delivery of fourth ARL-E system
FY19-FY23: Support force generation and sustainment of ARL-E and ARL-M
FY20: Initiate divestment of legacy ARL-M (EO-5C) systems


  • Adams Communications & Engineering Technology (Waldorf, MD)
  • Leidos (Reston, VA)
  • Northrop Grumman (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)