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Mark Kitz: Army Seeks Ways to Deploy ISR Payloads on High-Altitude Drones

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Mark Kitz, program executive officer for the U.S. Army’s intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors, said the service is soliciting industry insights to determine ways to field intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads on high-altitude unmanned aircraft systems, Breaking Defense reported Wednesday.

The Army is focus on “programs at high altitude above 60,000 feet and how we can get after stratospheric sensing technologies, and then how we build sensor technologies that are resilient to this future environment,” Kitz said Monday at an annual conference.

He noted that the military branch is interested in assured positioning, navigation and timing, navigation warfare and “our ability to have trusted space and trusted sensors in our future.” 

Lt. Gen. Laura Potter, Army deputy chief of staff for intelligence (G2), said that high-altitude drones are part of the service’s “multi-layered sensing strategy.”

Our strategy has three layers and a foundation: the space layer, optimizing what we can get from government or commercial things on orbit; an aerial layer that includes manned and unmanned platforms from the stratosphere to the mid- to high-altitude layer that is optimized with sensors for a high-end adversary to the ground layer; and the terrestrial layer where we need sensing at echelon,” she said.