Air Force Eyes Bi-static Approach to Air Surveillance

The Air Force is interested in using remotely piloted aircraft fitted with radar receivers in concert with E-3 AWACS aircraft for enhanced air surveillance capability, according to a recent Air Force Research Lab notice to industry. Under this concept, the RPA would carry S-band receivers that are integrated into their airframes’ load-bearing structures. Together, the RPA and AWACS would create a bi-static network that would “significantly increase the AWACS stand-off distance, coverage, and electronic protection,” states the notice. AFRL is interested in industry feedback to help it assemble a program for demonstrating both the integration of the RPA and conformal load-bearing antenna structures and the performance of the bi-static RPA-AWACS network, according to the Oct. 19 notice. ARFL has requested industry response by Nov. 3. (See also FlightGlobal’s Dew Line blog entry.)