Raytheon UK Develops New ISR Solutions

 - December 4, 2014, 8:40 AM
Raytheon UK’s overview of airborne ISR operations. The company has developed new software systems that aid the process. (Image: Raytheon UK)

Raytheon’s UK subsidiary has developed new software systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. During a briefing in London last week, the company said that the new products for mission management and analysis provide intuitive and lightweight user interfaces. Raytheon UK is the design authority for the Royal Air Force Sentinel R.1 business jet and the Shadow R.1 twin turboprop, two ISR collection platforms that have been extended in service after being threatened by British defense cuts.

Overseer is an airborne mission management system (AMMS) with an open architecture that offers new standards of usability, trainability and maintainability, the company claims. “We’ve put a lot of intellectual effort into it. New sensors can be plugged in to provide multi-mission capability,” said Phil Nettleship, chief engineer for airborne solutions at Raytheon UK. Overseer can also interact with a range of communications systems, and the number of onboard operator positions is scalable, he added. The company has demonstrated the integration of the Sentinel’s multimode radar sensor with an EO/IR sensor on a smaller platform. Overseer can also manage Raytheon’s SeaVue XMC maritime radar sensor.

Raven is a laptop-based search, visualization and analysis system for intelligence analysts. Like Overseer, it uses the latest open systems software, including complex search techniques, “but we have designed it for military metadata and high-fidelity requirements, such as targeting,” said Mark Lavis-Jones, head of information exploitation for Raytheon UK. Raven can handle and combine 3-D terrain databases, imagery, video and Sigint, and is designed to serve users who are on deployment. “Our challenge was to find a high-computer-power platform and the toolsets that would allow exploitation to continue even if connectivity is lost,” Lavis-Jones added. The company has demonstrated the system to “a coalition partner” at the classified level, he said.

Raytheon UK has partnered with a number of British small and medium enterprises to develop Raven and other new offerings in the defense field. For example, Raven includes a Sigint toolset from MASS, an electronic warfare and cyber security software specialist. Other partnerships include one with Plextek Consulting, which is adapting smartphone technology for use by dismounted soldiers when GPS is denied; and the University of Nottingham, which is working on convertible common power modules that could be used on small electric aircraft such as UAVs.