March 14, 2013
The U.S. Army’s Task Force ODIN-E (which stands for Observe Detect Identify Neutralize-Enhanced) at Bagram airfield in Afghanistan is currently flying twelve manned reconnaissance aircraft that do nothing else but use an interesting array of very sophisticated full-motion video (FMV), electro-optical (EO), infra-red (IR), and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery sensors to find improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and the Taliban teams that plant them.
According to an Army contract document, TF ODIN-E at Bagram controls eight modified King Air aircraft called “Saturn Arch,” three “Desert Owl" aircraft which also uses the basic King Air airframe, and a single DHC 8 aircraft called "Radiant Falcon.” There is also an unmanned drone system called NIGHT EAGLE, which TF ODIN-E uses to find Taliban IEDs.
TF ODIN-E controls the aircraft, but civilian personnel employed by the civilian defense contractor SAIC operate the aircraft and their onboard sensor systems.
On March 1, 2013, overall management and fiscal control over TF ODIN-E’s “Saturn Arch” counter-IED reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan was transferred from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.