Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works division is seeking clearance from the US government to export a roll-on/roll-off suite of intelligence sensors for the C-130 Hercules that is designed to identify targets concealed under camouflage or foliage.

Lockheed has quietly developed the C-130 Shadow Harvest system for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) with sponsorship from the Miami, Florida-based Southern Command.

A brochure advertising the system’s multi-intelligence capabilities was displayed in Lockheed’s exhibit booth at the Air Force Association’s annual convention in Washington, DC, last month.

According to DIA budget documents, the Shadow Harvest system leverages several “maturing sensors and relevant networking/data fusion/recognition technologies”, and can be deployed against both irregular and conventional operations.

The payloads include a hyperspectral camera made by BAE Systems called the spectral infrared remote imaging transition testbed (SPIRITT), DIA’s budget documents show. Another sensor included in the system is a “low frequency/multi-band synthetic aperture radar (MB-SAR)”, according to DIA’s budget documents.

Shadow Harvest was scheduled to complete a DIA-funded joint concept technology demonstration by the end of Fiscal 2009, which ended on 30 September. It will be transitioned as an official programme of record to the US Air Force by FY2012, the documents say.

Lockheed’s brochure advertises the Shadow Harvest system can be installed on any non-dedicated C-130 and requires no permanent modifications. The system includes a modular suite of optical and radar sensors contained in two, wing-mounted pods. The C-130 cargo bay also houses at least two “mission enclosures” for specialists to manage and process the sensor data.

Jim Grant, Lockheed’s vice president of air mobility and special operations programmes, confirms that Shadow Harvest has been developed for older-models C-130s, but the company believes the system’s capabilities can grow to be installed on newer C-130Js.

Lockheed is also awaiting approval to offer a sanitized version of the Shadow Harvest system to foreign C-130 operators, Grant says. The multi-intelligence payload is ideal for countries with border surveillance requirements, he adds.

The Shadow Harvest system joins a collection of palletized intelligence and weapon suites developed for the C-130 fleet. The USAF intelligence corps has also C-130’s equipped with the palletized Senior Scout payload.

Source: FlightGlobal.com