Elbit Systems has introduced the dual signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronics attack Air Keeper system, that it has sold to an undisclosed export customer for integration on the Airbus Defence & Space CN-235 transport.
Until now the two capabilities were not rolled into one electronic warfare (EW) system, but the combined offering enhances operational capability, the company says.
“The threats are coming and going quickly, and you need to be available and ready to act,” Irmin Menscher, vice president of marketing and business development for EW and SIGINT, says. “Having both of these capabilities covers a wide spectrum of scenarios.”
The electronic countermeasures is very precise, he adds, so there is no interference with the SIGINT that is simultaneously being collected, which is one of the reasons that SIGINT and electronic attack capabilities are not typically combined.
Air Keeper is designed for use on transport aircraft – the easiest to integrate on due to the size and capacity – or business jets, although a scaled down variant is more likely to be suited to these because of their size.
Elbit also has unmanned air vehicles on its Air Keeper radar, and says that it could theoretically be used on board its Hermes 900 UAV.
“We could integrate most of the capability on a UAV,” Menscher says. “We are promoting this capability for that, and the [Hermes] 900 is a good example of the size that could take it.”
Furthermore, Menscher says that another export contract is currently in the works for integration on a transport. Flightglobal's Ascend Fleets database shows 198 CN-235s in service worldwide, including with defence forces in Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Republic of Korea and Spain.