ExCel, London—Until recently, the only UAVs capable of performing SIGINT missions were the large UAVs on the scale of UAVs such as the Global Hawk, Predator, Heron, and Hermes. These UAVs have the weight and power to fly with internal or pod-mounted SIGINT systems. Today, with the advent of Horizon Technologies new Xtender technology (patent pending), we have modified the RF front-end of our FlyingFish™ SIGINT system (which monitors Sat Phones) allowing the FlyingFish™ Airborne Satellite Phone Monitoring System to sit on the ground in shelter while the UAV has full airborne SIGINT capabilities as if the system was on board.
The FlyingFish™/Xtender ISR system is applicable to anti-terrorism, drug interdiction, illegal immigration and many other covert operations where adversarial leaders and key decision makers communicate via Sat Phone when immediate interception of data and geolocation are critical to mission success.
The UAVs can be permanently configured with the L-Band antennas and spot beam processing for an immediate data link to the operations center. The permanent air vehicle configuration, not including antennas, has a weight and power penalty of less than 500 grams, and 5 watts. This is having a major impact on the way SIGINT is conducted since previously, smaller units and vessels would have to wait to get time critical SIGINT data from so-called strategic assets (like the Air Seeker, and EP-3s). With Xtender, smaller units will have the capability to locate and monitor the threat communications without waiting for strategic assets.
Due to the new Xtender technology and thanks to the UK government DTI support, Horizon Technologies was pleased to have been invited to and successfully demonstrated this transformational technology at the US DOD Special Operations Command “ThunderDrone” event in Florida earlier this year: http://www.sofwerx.org/ThunderDrone/. They are planning on participating in the follow-up event in November with exact details of platforms and capabilities not in the public domain.
In addition, Xtender technology allows for more than just UAV SIGINT. It has enabled Horizon Technologies to develop our Xpod SIGINT pod which allows any aircraft with a hardpoint to quickly install a SIGINT package—eliminating the need for “permanent” aircraft modifications. Xtender also has applications for Space Based SIGINT (SBS) which will be announced in 2018.