Leidos contracted for Saturn Arch counter-IED surveillance aircraft

Aug. 28 (UPI) — Leidos has received a $26.8 million contract modification for the Saturn Arch Quick Reaction Capability Aircraft.

Work on the contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, will be performed in Bridgewater, Va., with a projected completion date of September 2019. Army fiscal 2018 procurement funds in the amount of $26.8 million were obligated at the time of the award.

Saturn Arch is a aerial surveillance program that has been in service since 2010. It uses a variety of platforms and sensor assets for detecting and assisting in the removal of enemy IEDs and other threats.

The program has been expanded since its conception to include more conventional ISR missions and is designed to easily share data with Afghan security forces and international partners.

IEDs have been the biggest killer of U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion, and the U.S. military has invested heavily in systems capable of detecting and jamming them.

Aerial platforms, including manned and unmanned aircraft, use electro-optical and infrared sensors, ground-penetrating radar and radio-frequency detectors to locate IEDs, allowing friendly forces to either avoid or disable them. It also allows trends to be mapped, producing a picture of where the weapons are most concentrated in operations areas.

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