Military Embedded Systems

UAS carrying RF sensors enables enhanced BLoS ISR capabilities


November 20, 2023

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

UAS carrying RF sensors enables enhanced BLoS ISR capabilities
Photo courtesy TEKEVER

LISBON, Portugal and CAMBRIDGE, U.K. Uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) provider TEKEVER and RF technology company CRFS completed phase one of their system integration partnership, recently launching the first sub-tactical UAS carrying highly sensitive RF sensors as a payload, able to obtain beyond-line-of-sight (BLoS) images.

According to the companies' joint statement, the TEKEVER AR5 medium-altitude, medium-endurance fixed-wing UAS is now fitted with the CRFS RFEye Node, a rugged, lightweight RF receiver with 100 MHz instantaneous bandwidth (IBW) and a frequency range of up to 40 GHz. The integration of the RFeye Node onto the AR5 enables users to geolocate ground-based targets situated beyond the horizon, thereby vastly increasing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

The AR5 is capable of taking off from short, unpaved airstrips, and has an endurance range of 20 hours, a payload capacity of 50 kg (110 lb.), and a cruise speed of 100 km/h (62.14 mph). The partnering companies integrated the ruggedized RF sensors -- in IP67 form factor and optimized for size, weight and power (SWaP) -- onto the UAS to perform functions including spectrum monitoring/detection, signal capture, and geolocation. 

The joint release said that combining the integrated UAS with existing ground-based units enables users to create an adaptable multidomain network of receivers for superior passive ISR over huge areas, a factor that is especially important in active combat zones, as increasing altitude enables detection of signals at greater distances and further from the front line.


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