Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) programs tend to be among the most classified programs in the U.S. and other militaries. While bits of information often become available – especially RFPs – comprehensive program information and funding tend to remain secret. It is certain that many small, probably inexpensive SIGINT sensors are currently flying aboard small UAVs, but comprehensive information is not available publicly.
Although the AN/APY-8 Lynx was the best of the first generation of production-ready small SARs (Northrop Grumman’s TESAR was the only other major system, and that was removed from service on Predators without a replacement), Teal Group has long believed there has been a chance that Lynx production could have been cancelled or greatly reduced for the USAF Reaper procurement. But the first published Lynx/Reaper contract in a long time – the Air Force’s contract for 72 Block 20A Lynx upgrades in May 2015 – gave us new confidence that Lynx would continue to serve on Reaper. In February 2016, USAF FY17 budget documents indicated there were about 250 Lynx radars procured or planned for Reaper – basically one per Reaper.