February 23, 2018

Air Force selects UTC Aerospace Systems DB-110 for multi-nation foreign military sales acquisition

UTC Aerospace Systems DB-110 Airborne Reconnaissance System pictured onboard an F-16.

UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp., announced Feb. 21 that it has been awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with an initial ceiling of $22.9 million from the U.S. Air Force for the DB-110 Airborne Reconnaissance System.

The acquisition supports requests for the DB-110 system from multiple countries via the Foreign Military Sales program.

As the single largest acquisition of DB-110 pods ever procured through FMS, it highlights the growing need for advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities among U.S. allies worldwide.  

The DB-110 is a dual-band 110-inch focal length reconnaissance system that is capable of producing high-resolution imagery from nadir to a stand-off range of 80-plus nautical miles, day or night.  Developed as a derivative of the strategic Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System sensor on the Air Force U-2, the DB-110 can collect more than 10,000 square miles of high-resolution imagery per hour and serves as the cornerstone of many air forces’ tactical and strategic ISR capabilities. It is currently in service with 14 nations on multiple platforms.

“The DB-110 is a transformative system, enabling aircraft like the F-16 and F-15 to perform high-end ISR missions that previously were conducted by dedicated strategic platforms,” said Mike Don, Director of  International Airborne Programs at UTC Aerospace Systems.  “With the DB-110, an F-16 can be flexibly deployed to conduct peace time cross-border surveillance from international airspace, or during times of conflict, quickly transit through contested airspace that may be inaccessible by UAVs to conduct time-sensitive tactical-reconnaissance missions.  DB-110 is truly a force-multiplier for fast-jet operators worldwide.”

In addition to operations on the F-16 and F-15, the DB-110 is operational on special mission aircraft like the Bombardier Global Express and maritime patrol aircraft like the P-3, and was recently  demonstrated on the MQ-9 Reaper. 

“Special mission aircraft represent a uniquely effective space for the DB-110,” explained Gavin Dyer, a senior technical fellow at UTC Aerospace Systems.  “They enable the DB-110 to work in conjunction with other sensors, such as Synthetic Aperture Radar and signals intelligence, thereby producing multilayer intelligence products and a more holistic view of the battlespace.”

In addition to procurement of the DB-110 pods, the Air Force IDIQ also includes multiple UTC Aerospace Systems Ground Exploitation Stations.  These systems are deployed worldwide with U.S. and allied countries to enable the ingest, exploitation, archival and dissemination of intelligence products from not only the DB-110, but also Full Motion Video gimbals and Non-Traditional ISR targeting pods.  Operating as nodes within a larger network, the ground stations provide a repository for multiple intelligence products and a platform to discover and share information between broad tiers of end users.

“With this award, the U.S. Air Force has recognized the need our allies have for the advanced ISR capabilities of the DB-110,” said Don.  “We are committed to providing worldclass product sustainment and delivering a robust technology roadmap that will ensure the DB-110 product line remains relevant to our customers for years to come.”

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