Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other robotic systems are playing larger roles in many electronic intelligence (ELINT) and electronic support measures (ESM) systems. Components for such UAV systems must be small and light in weight but also rugged enough to handle harsh environments. For that reason, Telemus specified a Talon RTX 2589 intermediate-frequency (IF) recorder from Pentek as the data capture device for their ALR-510 ELINT/ESM system, digitizing high-frequency input signals and storing them in digital form. The wideband RF/IF recorder is conduction cooled and environmentally sealed to handle challenging thermal environments.
The Talon RTX 2589 digital recorder (see figure) can capture and record RF and IF signals to 2.8 GHz by operating at rates to 3.6 GSamples/s with 12-bit resolution. It can also operate in a dual-channel mode, with each channel saving input signals to 1.8 GHz. The digital recorder is optimized to meet minimal military size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements, housed in a ½-ATR chassis measuring 7.7 × 4.9 × 14.2 in. and weighing just 22 lbs (10 kg). It can be equipped with removable QuickPac memory for as much as 61 TB of data storage and runs on +12 to +28 VDC power supplies. It features a built-in EMI power-line filter and military-grade MIL-STD circular connectors.
The recorder is available with an optional Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for precise location identification. The RTX 2589 recorder is the latest member of the Talon family of small-form-factor (SFF) recorders developed for portable use, such as for UAVs. The ALR-510 ELINT/ESM system employs the recorder to detect, identify, and geolocate radar systems within a NATO country. The outstanding reliability of the RF/IF digital recorder is aided by Pentek's SystemFlow API software which controls and monitors all operational functions.