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Army Concludes ‘Saturn Arch’ Counter-IED Aircraft Mission

1 min read

The U.S. Army’s Saturn Arch Quick Reaction Capability aircraft flew its last mission to support U.S. Central Command, concluding more than one decade of geospatial intelligence collection work for improvised explosive device neutralization efforts.

The Saturn Arch fleet has recorded 72,500 mission hours and produced over 18,000 data products, the Army Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors said Friday.

Leidos helped the branch manage ground and flight operations of the aerial counter-IED platform equipped with hyperspectral, electro-optical/infrared and high-resolution imagery sensors.

The Joint Improved Explosive Device Defeat Organization initially developed the system to address CENTCOM’s urgent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance needs in the Middle East.

Michael Payne, product manager for the Army’s Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, said the service funded the Saturn Arch QRC program to build 10 planes over the past decade.

The Army is looking to transition the aircraft’s sensor suite to other programs as the branch shifts focus on addressing operational requirements in a multidomain environment.

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