RASISR-Pod-(L3Harris)
RASISR Pod (L3Harris) – An artist’s rendering of L3Harris’ RASISR pod on the forward ventral fuselage of a business jet. These aircraft are attractive for SIGINT collection given their high cruising altitudes and long ranges.

L3Harris expects to have its new RASISR Signals Intelligence collection pod ready for delivery in 2021, the firm has told Armada.

The company unveiled the pod in late September. Greg Baker, L3Harris’ acting senior director for business development in the firm’s reconnaissance mission systems business, says that work began on the pod in 2019. He said that technologies developed for L3Harris’ Rio airborne Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and Olympia Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) systems are at the heart of RASISR.

The company’s official literature says that Rio can collect signals across wavebands of 0.1 megahertz/MHz to six gigahertz. It provides 360 megahertz of instantaneous bandwidth and demodulates all standard signal protocols. These include frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, single sideband and frequency shift keying to name four. Olympia covers frequencies of 500MHz to 40GHz. It has 15 gigahertz of instantaneous bandwidth and detects continuous wave and pulse doppler emitters.

Alongside these signals Rodney H. Jaeger, engineering fellow, business development at L3Harris, says that the pod can be customised with proprietary national or multinational cryptography applicable to specific communications signals: “If you have a sovereign SIGINT capability we can bring this into the capability.”

Platforms

Mr. Baker continued that the pod has been designed primarily to equip business jets like the Dassault Falcon, Gulfstream G-550 or Bombardier Global Express series. These aircraft are well suited for airborne signals intelligence collection given their long ranges, long loiter times and cruising altitudes of 45,000 feet (13,716 metres) and above. When using the RASISR pod an aircraft flying at these altitudes could detect emitters at ranges greater than 240 nautical miles (444 kilometres). Alongside business jet-based platform L3Harris says that RASISR could equip platforms like Airbus A330-series turbofan transports and C-295 series tactical turboprop freighters.

Users

“We can help customers who might not have a dedicated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform,” providing them with some ISR capability using the RASISR pod, Mr. Baker continues. For example, L3Harris promoting the pod to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members. He says that five potential European customers are interested in RASISR, along with potential customers in North America.

The pod has been designed to be compatible with NATO’s Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) architecture. AFSC was launched by NATO in 2016. It will knit together air, ground, maritime and space sensors to gather and share ISR information rapidly and efficiently among NATO members.

Timelines

The pod is under construction and the company is performing preliminary and critical design reviews. Mr. Baker expects flight tests to begin by late spring 2021, with deliveries following by the end of that year.

by Dr. Thomas Withington