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E-10 MC2A [Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft]

The Air Force, heavily constrained by budgetary shortages, cancelled the E-10 Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft program in 2006. The E-10 would have added a highly advanced airborne battle management command and control asset to the Air Force fleet. Its cancellation reinforced the need for AWACS to continue performing at the highest possible level.

The E-10 MC2A [Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft] was designed provide ground, and selected airborne, moving target indication, as well as key battle management command and control and was expected to be a central element in the Air Force's Command and Control Constellation. The C2 Constellation was a concept that envisions a fully connected array of land, platform and space-based sensors that would use common standards and communication protocols to relay information automatically in machine-to-machine interfaces.

As early as 1992, the Boeing Company proposed putting the system on newer Boeing 767-200 Extended Range aircraft, but the proposal was not accepted at that time as cost-effective. Given the 707 airframe procurement, refurbishment, and modification cost and a 1996 price for a commercial version Boeing 767-200 Extended Range aircraft of between $82 million and $93 million, it became more cost-effective for the Air Force to reconsider Boeing's offer or examine some other new, more capable aircraft. Such an aircraft could provide a longer life, greater room for growth, greater flight range, greater fuel efficiency, higher operational availability, and lower program life-cycle costs.

In February 2003 the Air Force designated the MC2A, the acquisition and development of which was being managed by the Electronic Systems Center, the E-10A. The E basic mission designation stands for Special Electronic Installation. While the E is specific to the mission of the aircraft, the number 10 was the next in the inventory sequence. The A suffix denotes the first variation of the aircraft. Hanscom Air Force Base was the birthplace of two other Air Force aircraft that share the E designation: the E-3B Sentry AWACS and the E-8C Joint STARS. There was talk about creating an M prefix for multi-sensor, but it was decided to go with the existing E designation instead.

On 14 May 2003 the Northrop Grumman Corporation, Boeing and Raytheon Multi-sensor Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A) team received a pre-system development and demonstration contract, with a total value of $215 million, for Weapon System Integration (WSI) of the US Air Force's new E-10A aircraft. All three members of the team brought strong legacies that provided the Air Force with options for the MC2A program. With the system integration expertise Northrop Grumman had in programs such as Joint STARS combined with airframe excellence from Boeing and radar integration proficiency from Raytheon, the E-10A would be expected to bring a new level of ISR capability to the warfighter.

Increment 1 of the Air Force's evolutionary acquisition program for the E-10A provided for a cruise missile defense and advanced airborne ground surveillance and targeting capability. The E-10A would include the Northrop Grumman/Raytheon Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) radar and an advanced Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) subsystem integrated on a Boeing 767-400ER aircraft. The three companies announced a unique teaming agreement that capitalized on their expertise in legacy systems then being used by the Air Force.

Under the agreement, Northrop Grumman was responsible for overall program management and system engineering, mission system design, airframe modification, system integration and operational flight-testing. Boeing would perform major structural modification design, air vehicle analysis and performance assessments and airworthiness testing. Boeing would also produce one 767-400ER airframe for the E-10A test bed under a separate contract with the government. Raytheon's primary responsibilities included radar and radome installation, support to system engineering, system integration and test for the cruise missile defense functionality.

Integrated Systems, one of Northrop Grumman's seven sectors, was a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise. Headquartered in El Segundo, California, the organization has designed, developed, produced and supported integrated systems, platforms and subsystems, and provided mission support services for US government, civil and international customers. Integrated Systems' products and services met military and homeland security requirements that supported critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, battle management command and control, precision strike, and readiness and support missions from sea to space.

A unit of the Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, has historically been one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business. It has provided systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers and has been the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer.

Raytheon Company, with 2002 sales of $16.8 billion, has been an an industry leader in defense, government and commercial electronics, space, information technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft. With headquarters in Lexington, Mass., Raytheon employs more than 76,000 people worldwide.

Installation of the advanced MP-RTIP radar on the ultimate Boeing 767 platform would be the first "spiral" in the MC2A system's development. Teaming with Joint STARS was also logical, since the expertise in designing and modernizing a command and control platform with superior ground moving-target indicator, or GMTI capability, resided in that program office. Advanced GMTI capability was one of the first things the MC2A would be expected to provide.

The Battle Management Command and Control source selection was part of the larger Multi-sensor Command & Control Aircraft (MC2A) Program. MC2A capabilities would be delivered through Evolutionary Acquisition using Spiral Development throughout the system's acquisition and sustainment phases. Spiral 1 planned to deliver a robust Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) capability and a focused Air Moving Target Indicator (AMTI) capability to support Cruise Missile Defense (CMD) operations, along with BMC2 capabilities integrated on a Boeing 767-400ER platform to the warfighter by 2013. The BMC2 subsystem included all of the non-radar and non-aircraft subsystems to include the central computing architecture, networks, data storage, data manipulation, data fusion, data exploitation, communications and data link capability. The BMC2 subsystem would provide GMTI and CMD BMC2 with a growth capability to host AEW BMC2 through a spiral development process supporting the MC2A evolutionary acquisition approach. The effort included design, development, and test and integration in the context of the MC2A WSI.

The Lockheed Martin-led E-10A BMC2 team tapped into industry-leading experience in battle management, ISR, and command and control systems. Lockheed Martin was responsible for systems architecture, systems engineering and program management, Raytheon will perform the communications, ISR, and UAV control systems integration, and SAIC heads the modeling and simulation effort. The team also incorporated focused domain expertise from L3 Communications, Alphatech, Inc., and Concurrent Technologies Corporation.

As envisioned for the E-10A MC2A, the BMC2 subsystem would automate sensor data processing tasks then performed by human operators, presenting a predictive battlespace awareness picture to the airborne commander. The knowledge to make actionable decisions in near-real time would enable the Air Force to significantly shorten the sensor-to-shooter decision cycle.

The Multi Platform-Common Data Link (MP-CDL) would provide the data link to other airborne and ground platforms prosecuting a ground war. Other capabilities would potentially include interfaces to Space-Based Radar, reception of data from, and control of unmanned aerial vehicles and combat operations functions. The initial effort would include both hardware and software growth provisions to permit incorporation of additional sensor configurations, as well as, other BMC2 functionality for future developments. A second spiral was tentatively planned to expand the E-10A support to air-to-air and cruise missile defense with additional sensors (e.g., IFF) and additional BMC2 functionality.

The E-10A Technology Demostration Program (TDP) had not yet started development by March 2007. In May 2006, DoD approved the TDP acquisition, technology development, and test and evaluation strategies. The program identified 18 critical technologies, five of which were assessed in a March 2007 Government Accountability Office report as being fully mature. The program projected that nearly all critical technologies would be fully mature by 2011, when the TDP demonstrations are scheduled for completion. The TDP demonstrations were planned to include a live fire engagement of cruise missiles, a live fire engagement of ground targets, and the use of information services via internet protocol-enabled communication channels. The demonstrations constitute the TDP exit criteria. If an E-10A development program were to be initiated, capabilities would be acquired through an evolutionary acquisition process.

Of the TDP's 18 critical technologies, 5 were fully mature as of March 2007, with the remaining 13 projected to be mature or approaching maturity by 2011. TDP technologies would mature in two ways. In some cases, the technologies would be demonstrated on the E-10A testbed or in the system integration laboratory during the TDP test program. In other cases, the program office would monitor and leverage the advances made by other programs and agencies to mature relevant technologies.

Eight technologies would be matured directly by the TDP. The program projected that 7 of the 8 would be fully mature at the end of the TDP. The one critical technology that was projected to not reach full maturity is information assurance, which was projected to be approaching full maturity by the end of the TDP.

The other 10 critical technologies would be matured as part of program activities. For example, the narrowband communications critical technology was expected to be provided by the Joint Tactical Radio System, and the Wideband Beyond Line-of-Sight critical technology was expected to be provided by the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals. The program projected that 9 of the 10 critical technologies would be fully mature at the end of the TDP. The remaining critical technology was projected to be either approaching full maturity or fully mature.

The E-10A's MP-RTIP radar was designed as a modular, scalable, two-dimensional active electronically scanned radar. The MP-RTIP also supported the Global Hawk program. MP-RTIP would deliver a "large sensor" variant for the E-10A aircraft and a "small sensor" variant for the Global Hawk. The MP-RTIP development effort planned to provide two E-10A sensors and three Global Hawk sensors. The E-10A and Global Hawk programs were structured to fund production of the MP-RTIP sensors for their respective operational platforms. The two E-10A MP-RTIP development sensors would be integrated into the E-10A system integration laboratory and testbed, with planned delivery in 2009 and 2010. Planned delivery of the Global Hawk variants of the radar were scheduled for 2006, 2007, and 2008.

The MP-RTIP radar began development in 2003. The Global Hawk variant of the radar had 8 critical technologies and the E-10A had 1 additional critical technology (pulse compression unit) for a total of 9. The majority of the critical technologies had reached full maturity by March 2007 and the remaining critical technologies were approaching full maturity. Regarding design stability, all of the drawings expected were releasable for both variants of the MP-RTIP radar.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2016 17:41:04 ZULU