Avantix is promoting the FlashHawk as part of a combined airborne intelligence-gathering asset which will also include an Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) sensor in the form of an optronics payload which can be mounted onboard a light aircraft or an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
The FlashHawk sensor, company officials told MONch, is capable of gathering SIGINT across a 30 megahertz/MHz to two gigahertz waveband. Avantix stated that this provides instantaneous bandwidth in the 30MHz to 700MHz, and the 700MHz to three gigahertz wavebands. This will provide the capability to gather intelligence regarding communications devices operating in the very high frequency and ultra high frequency wavebands including military tactical radios, public security radios, cellular communications and also Satellite Communications (SATCOM) employing the Thuraya, Iridium, Inmarsat/SatPhone and LightSquared/Ligado SATCOM networks. Media reports have stated that the Thuraya network has been widely used by people traffickers operating from the coast of North Africa, with a single satellite phone often being the only means that stricken boats full of refugees have of contacting the outside world to obtain assistance when they run into difficulties.
The FlashHawk can be fitted to an individual aircraft with the pod’s software providing the SIGINT specialist with a 360-degree view of emitters around their aircraft, and a three-dimensional representation of the emitter’s locations, which includes the provision of the emitter’s GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates. Onboard the aircraft, the Flashhawk is fused with a third-party optronics system which allows the operator to gather IMINT regarding the emitter’s user. This is particularly useful in counter-terror operations where a specific High Value Individual (HVI) maybe located and monitored via the interception of their communications. This means that IMINT can be used to see who the HVI is meeting with and, while SIGINT is gathered regarding the communications systems that these individuals are using.
Avantix told MONch that towards the end of the year the company will commence flight testing the FlashHawk onboard a Reims-Cessna F406 CARAVAN-II turboprop transport. Company officials continued that the entirety of the Flashhawk’s development was funded by the company, and added that it has not developed the product in response to any specific requirement.