Electronic Weapons: UAVs Go Listening


April 30,
The U.S. Air Force is equipping some Predator (MQ-1) and Reaper (MQ-9)
UAVs with signals intelligence (or SIGINT) sensor (electronic eavesdropping)
capabilities. The ASIP-1C (Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload 1C) will go on
the Predator, while the ASIP-2C will go
on the larger Reaper. Both will use technology already used by signals
intelligence equipment that equips the U-2 (a manned recon aircraft) and Global
Hawk (the largest UAV in service). The MQ-1 only can carry (and supply power
to) about 200 pounds worth of signals intelligence electronics. The Reaper can
handle over 500 pounds worth. The more electronic monitoring gear a UAV can
carry, the more frequencies it can monitor. A UAV has an advantage in that it
can spend a lot of time in the air, providing "persistence," which is very
valuable for electronic eavesdropping. You never know when the bad guys will
turn on their cell phone, walkie-talkie or satellite phone. When they do, you
want to be there to capture the conversation. Currently, such monitoring is
largely done by a small number of U.S. Air Force (RC-135) and Navy (EP-3)
aircraft. The U.S. Army also mounts SIGINT equipment on some helicopters. The
new SIGINT gear for the UAVs will be ready for service in two years.


Article Archive

Electronic Weapons: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close