L3Harris and Raytheon Technologies have received contracts from the US Army to proceed to the second phase of the next-generation airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) program, HADES.

As part of the deal, the two American firms will enhance component designs and develop electronic intelligence and communications intelligence sensor prototypes.

The army requires the prototypes to be more sensitive than existing sensors and to be integrated into an open system architecture within 24 months.

The technology must also exploit near-peer threats faster than other electronic intelligence sensors and operate at higher altitudes, ranges, and speeds.

Project director Dennis Teefy said that the goal of the contract is to provide deep-sensing intelligence collection of warnings to aerial platforms.

“This will allow standoff operations to detect, locate, identify, and track critical targets for the ground commander,” he explained.

If the prototyping phase is successful, the two vendors may be selected for phase three, integrating the prototypes into an aircraft for flight testing.

The HADES Program

The HADES program, or High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System, seeks to modernize the US Army’s aerial artificial intelligence systems, platforms, and sensors.

It is expected to extend the range of the service’s most sophisticated electronic eavesdropping equipment.

The platform will integrate multiple intelligence sensors into a fixed-wing aircraft, allowing stand-off operations to detect, locate, identify, and track critical threats in the atmosphere.

“The MDSS (Multi-Domain Sensing System) HADES will be globally deployable and provide a multi-faceted sensing capability at higher altitudes and longer ranges, and with longer endurance than is currently available from the Army’s enduring fleet,” Teefy said.

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If the program goes as planned, 10 aircraft with the HADES platform could be fielded by 2028.