Raytheon has revealed plans by the US Army to dramatically improve the performance of a new sensor payload expected to be installed on hundreds of unmanned aircraft and helicopters.

Army officials have released a request for quotes to upgrade the common sensor payload (CSP) with a high-definition electro-optical/infrared sensor and improved target location accuracy.

The potentially $30 million development programme was revealed in an online job advertisement posted by Raytheon on 27 October seeking a programme manager. The company declined to provide more details.

The advertisement says the improved system will be installed on 100 sensors already in production, as well as new ones as they are built.

The army awarded Raytheon the CSP contract in November 2007 to install the sensor on its General Atomics MQ-1C Sky Warrior unmanned air vehicles and Bell ARH-70 Arapaho armed reconnaissance helicopters.

The service cancelled the latter programme last October, but the CSP has been discussed for its replacement, the armed aerial scout.

Raytheon has said the CSP is derived from technology developed for the ZSQ-2 sensor turret designed for the US Special Operations Command's Boeing MH-6M Mission Enhanced Little Bird helicopters.

Source: Flight International