Boeing Selected to Develop a new Multi-Int Airborne System for the U.S. Army

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The U.S. Air Force began operating MC-12 ISR Aircraft at Bagram and Kandahar fields in Afghanistan earlier in 2010. In June this year, the Army received proposals from several U.S. companies for the delivery of similar aircraft known as 'EMARSS', to provide close ISR support to the land forces. Photo: US Air Force

The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) was selected by the U.S. Army to develop the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS). The company was awarded $88 million firm-fixed-price contract to develop and integrate the mission package, through the 24 month Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, delivering up to 12 EMARSS systems – four developmental aircraft, with options for two additional planes and six low rate initial production (LRIP) planes. The Army plans to conduct another competition for full-rate production of additional 28 aircraft. The total cost of the program is expected to exceed $320 million.

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Boeing has won an Army contract to develop Multi-Int ISR system similar to the U.S. Air Force's MC-12 Liberty. Boeing is expected to deliver the first four EMARSS planes in two years. The parallel Air Forces' MC-12 system was developed by L3. Photo: US Air Force

EMARSS addresses part of the operational requirements contemplated for the Aerial Common Sensor (ACS). It will be designed to operate as part of the Aerial Exploitation Battalions (AEB), which are assigned to the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). When operated in support of theater commands, the collection of Intelligence, Surveillance and Renaissance (ISR) will be handled through centralized processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED). However, unlike the former ACS, EMARSS will also have a simultaneous capability to directly support tactical forces, transmitting critical full-motion video and intelligence products to engaged tactical forces.

It will provide a persistent capability to detect, locate, classify/identify and track surface targets in nearly all weather conditions, day or night, with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy. The suite will comprise an Electro-optic/Infrared (EO/IR) payload with Full Motion Video (FMV) sensor, a COMINT collection system, an Aerial Precision Guidance (APG) system, line-of-site (LOS) tactical and beyond line-of-site (LOS/BLOS) communications suites, two operator workstations and a self-protection suite.

The contract covers the four initial EMD units to be delivered within two years and provides options for two more EMD and six LRIP systems to be delivered in four years. EMARSS is a manned multi-int platform to be installed on an existing platform (currently the MC-12 is considered).

“By working closely with our business partners in Phantom Works, we were able to rapidly define and develop a solution tailored to the warfighter’s needs,” said Roger Krone, president of Boeing Network & Space Systems. “The sensor and network capabilities Boeing is offering, along with the reliability and flexibility of the King Air platform, will provide the Army with a new level of battlefield mission support.”