MTS-B Sensors Help ‘Grim Reaper’ Harvest Enemy Targets
UAVs have been a critical resource for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They perform many functions, including intelligence gathering, surveillance of enemy positions, and even attack capabilities.
GlobalSecurity.org lists over 60 different models of UAVs. One of the most useful UAVs with attack capabilities has been the MQ-9 Reaper. It has the same surveillance capabilities of the popular MQ-1 Predator, but it also can carry GPS-guided JDAM family bombs, Paveway laser-guided bombs, Sidewinder missiles for air-air self defense, Hellfire anti-armor missiles, and laser-guided Hydra rockets.
To find targets, track them, estimate their range, and ensure the targets are taken out, the MQ-9 needs a sensor-based targeting system. That system is the MTS-B [PDF] Multi-Spectral Targeting System manufactured by Raytheon, which recently received a $27.5 million order from the USAF to supply 17 MTS-B systems.
Raytheon’s MTS-B is an electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) and laser detecting-ranging-tracking set. The EO/IR system provides long-range surveillance, high-altitude target acquisition, tracking, rangefinding, and laser designation for the Hellfire missile and other laser-guided munitions. MTS-B has been adapted for the high-altitude MQ-9, which has a flying ceiling of 50,000 feet.
The MTS systems, which also include the MTS-A for the MQ-1 Predator, are designed as AN/AAS-52 and can be upgraded to include multiple wavelength sensors, TV cameras (Near-IR and color), illuminators, eyesafe rangefinders, spot trackers, and other avionics.
Raytheon has received a number of orders under this contract (FA8620-06-G-4041).
In June 2009, Raytheon received an $87.3 million order to provide 25 MTS-B and 35 MTS-A systems.
In September 2007, Raytheon received an $86.1 million order to provide 19 MTS-B, 27 MTS-A, and 54 MTS-A retrofits.
In February 2007, the company got a $70.4 million order for 5 upgraded MTS-Bs and 60 MTS-As.
The 703rd Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base manages the contract.