Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL)

By PEO AviationSeptember 24, 2020

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Airborne Reconnaissance Low – Multifunction (ARL-M), designated EO-5C, is a legacy, manned, multi-sensor, day and night, all-weather Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) system. It consists of a modified de Havilland Canada (DHC)-7 fixed wing aircraft equipped with Communications Intelligence and Imagery Intelligence (COMINT/IMINT), Ground Moving Target Indicator/Synthetic Aperture Radar (GMTI/SAR) and Electro-Optical and Infrared (EO/IR) Full-Motion Video (FMV) capability. Onboard operators control the payloads via open-architecture, multifunction workstations. Intelligence collected can be analyzed and disseminated from the onboard workstations in real time as well as recorded for post-mission analysis.


The Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced (ARL-E), designated RO-6A, is the Army’s newest manned, multi-sensor, day and night, all-weather AISR system. ARL-E consists of a modified DHC-8-Q315 fixed wing aircraft equipped with a reconfigurable payload and enhanced COMINT and IMINT sensors including a long range and a short range Ground and Dismounted Moving Target Indicator/Synthetic Aperture Radar (GMTI/DMTI/SAR), high-definition EO/IR FMV and Hyperspectral Imagery. The sensors are controlled and operated using onboard Distributed Common Ground Station-Army (DCGS-A) multifunction workstations. Intelligence collected on the ARL-E can be analyzed and disseminated in real time, transmitted via Beyond Line of Sight satellite communication, or stored onboard for post-mission analysis.

The more capable DHC-8-Q315 based ARL-E will replace the ARL-M systems (DHC-7) with the first unit equipped in FY21. By leveraging former Quick Reaction Capability DHC-8 programs, the Army has capitalized on the reutilization of previous Army investments, non-reoccurring engineering, improved airworthiness and improved system availability for the Army ACAT II program of record requirements. There are currently four ARL-M configured systems; there will be eight ARL-E configured systems and one trainer.

ARL provides tactical commanders with day and night, all-weather, real-time airborne COMINT/IMINT collection and a dedicated area surveillance system. The reconfigurable payload provides flexibility to the commander. ARL provides real-time down-link of actionable intelligence to brigade combat teams and higher echelons across the full range of military operations, including coalition support.

Download the Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) Fact Sheet [PDF - 256.5 KB]