BATTLE OF THE PODS – GOODRICH AND BAE SYSTEMS STAKE THEIR CLAIM
Operation TELIC saw the first operational use of the RAF new Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for Tornado (RAPTOR) system which has been fielded over the last two years by the RAF and ussued to great effect during the recent Iraq conflict. The RAPTOR system was deployed to Kuwait and was used extensively throughout the conflict with circa 500 collection sorties flown. RAPTOR provides a significant increase in the RAF reconnaissance capability providing commanders with the high quality, high resolution, imagery data needed for decision making on the modern dynamic battlefield. The RAPTOR reconnaissance system was developed for the RAF under a contract originally placed with Hughes Electronics in the U.K. and then taken over by Raytheon, following the acquisition of Hughes. The Raptor system ins service use today has a Goodrich DB110 compact, lightweight sensor with visible/infrared focal planes providing day/night coverage, with long & short-range capability to support stand-off or penetrating missions. Goodrich Corporation purchased the RAPTOR system as part of its acquisition of Raytheon’s EO assets in 2001.
Goodrich Surveillance & Reconnaissance Systems (UK & US) are part of the Goodrich Optical & Space Systems, within Goodrich Corporation. Optical and Space Systems developed the worlds’ first photo-reconnaissance satellite – CORONA. They are the leaders in airborne reconnaissance sensors having supported strategic intelligence collection on the U2 platform from its inception. They also developed the most advanced LOROP sensor, the SYERS 2 state-of-the-art multi-spectral sensor for the US Air Force. The have now added the DB-110 newest airborne sensor for tactical reconnaissance.
The TELIC sorties provided Goodrich and the Mod with a rich seam of operational experience with which to make improvements to the system. Goodrich is modifying and integrating a new pod onto the F16 platform.
A major part of the RAPTOR system is the RAPTOR Data Link Ground Station (DLGS) which has been designed to satisfy the stringent requirements of the Royal Air Force for a multi-source Imagery Exploitation capability. Following the deployment of the DLGS to Kuwait, became apparent that more exploitation capability required. Goodrich, under a UOR, developed, built and supplied 2 newly configured ground stations based on the Exploitation Multi-Input/Output Modular Architecture.
This exploitation system architecture is highly flexible and can be configured to meet a broad range of customer specific requirements. Configuration options already exist for fully integrated C4ISR installations at main operating locations, for re-locatable NBC protected ISO standard shelters and for fully mobile vehicle systems. Individual workstations can also operate standalone or be integrated into current facilities.
Specific exploitation system offerings are configured to meet the requirements of individual user applications, with the costs of system ownership minimised through the use of modular software and COTS hardware. The human interface and system controls have been designed to be highly intuitive to limit imagery analyst training requirements.
The internal architecture of the RAPTOR DLGS supports operation with the full range of UK ISTAR imagery assets. The system provides the analyst with a broad range of import/export capabilities including compatibility with legacy data formats and the new generation of international ISTAR standards.
The systems are designed to be compatible with wide bandwidth, digital data links and high rate digital storage media. As an example, the RAPTOR DLGS is designed for interoperability and complies with NATO STANAGS 7023, 7024, 7085, 4545 and with US and ISO standards including NITF 2.1.
Individual workstations can be used for real time imagery screening from the data link or digital storage media, or for in depth imagery exploita