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Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS)
Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (MARSS) II

The Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS; initially known as MARSS II) is a manned, multi-intelligence airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platform. It is designed to provide timely, accurate, assured support to tactical forces in full spectrum operations. The electro-optical/infra-red payload provides full-motion video disseminated over a digital data link. The signals intelligence (SIGNINT) payload provides detect, identify, geolocate, and copy with aerial precision guidance capability. EMARSS provides a persistent capability to detect, locate, classify/identify, and track surface targets in day/night, near all-weather conditions with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy.

EMARSS is a manned multi-intelligence airborne intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance system that provides a persistent capability to detect, locate, classify/identify, and track surface targets in day/night, near-all-weather conditions with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy. EMARSS aircraft would be located within aerial exploitation battalions assigned to the US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). The EMARSS system would consist of a commercial derivative aircraft equipped with electro-optic/infrared full motion video sensor, a communications intelligence collection system, an aerial precision guidance system, line-of-site tactical and beyond line-of-site communications suites, two operator workstations and a self-protection suite. EMARSS would operate as a single platform in support of tactical missions. Mission altitude and flight tracks would be chosen to optimize sensor data collection on the target area of interest while avoiding known threats. Flight tracks could be selected to strike a balance among the capabilities of multiple sensors, or to optimize collection from individual sensors based upon the daily collection tasking dictated by the tactical commanders priority intelligence requirements. EMARSS would provide efficient response to combat forces ISR tasking with centralized processing, exploitation and dissemination of ISR while simultaneously transmitting critical full motion video and intelligence products to engaged tactical forces.

The EMARSS includes a Beechcraft King Air B350ER (C-12 equivalent) aircraft as the prime mover. The system consists of 2 onboard sensors and provides crosscueing intelligence collection of both onboard and off-board sensors The electro-optical/infra-red, synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator (SAR/GMTI), and SIGINT payloads on each airframe provide multidiscipline collection and support. The SAR/GMTI capability provides deep look and advanced threat indication, warning, and adverse weather imaging. The aircraft also has a COMINT and ELINT payload and an eye-safe laser rangefinder.

The EMARSS would operate as a single platform in support of tactical missions, but through connectivity to tactical and national networks, would also contribute to the joint overall airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or AISR, constellation. This combination of attributes, plus many others, would provide the ground tactical commander an assured near-real-time operational view of the battle space, enabling tactical ground forces to operate at their highest potential. In addition, development of the EMARSS program looked to ensure the system was configurable for the future and would be able to take advantage of expansion potential built-in already, allowing future capabilities to grow.

On 13 June 2005, Israel Aircraft Industries' Elta Systems Group announced that a new Multi-Mission Airborne Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (MARSS) had been developed. The IAI MARSS was an airborne intelligence and C4I system that performed simultaneous signal intelligence (SIGINT) and image intelligence (IMINT) missions in all-weather conditions. Their MARSS was equipped with a communication intelligence (COMINT) system and electronic intelligence (ELINT) system to provide a real-time electronic order of battle of all the communication networks and radars in the theater. The aircraft used a Synthetic Aperture Radar / Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) and a long-range day and night electro-optical sensor to gather high quality Imagery Intelligence (IMINT). Images were then collated by an onboard command and control center before being transmitted to a ground-based command center where a comprehensive theater situation picture was maintained. The MARSS' sensors could be cross-correlated at any time to search for additional intelligence on specific targets. The system was network-centric and data could be sent to all commanding levels in the theater.

As of June 2010, the EMRASS system was as quick reaction capability. The first regular Army unit to equipped with the system was at that time planned for FY12. EMARSS aircraft would be located within aerial exploitation battalions, which were assigned to the US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

As part of the US Army's news briefing on the FY12 budget proposal on 14 February 2011, it was noted that the budget request provided for the procurement of 18 EMARSS, which would provide Army Brigade Combat Teams with a multi-sensor intelligence-collection capability. A competition was subsequently held, with Northrop Grumman and Boeing submitting bids.

On 6 December 2010, Boeing announced that it had been awarded a two-year engineering and manufacturing development contract for the for the EMARSS. The initial contract covered the engineering and manufacturing development of 4 aircraft, with options for 2 additional aircraft, 7 low rate initial production aircraft, and interim contractor logistics support. The total performance of the contract, if all options were exercised, was 42 months. A stop-work order was subsequently issued after the Government Accountability Office asked the Army to review its contract selection process. That stop-work was lifted on 16 June 2011. On 28 July 2011, the US Army reported that it expected that the first EMARSS would be delivered in late 2012 or early 2013.

Competing bidders subsequently protested the Army's selection of Boeing. Initially, a "stop-work" was issued, after the Government Accountability Office asked the Army to review its contract selection process. That stop-work was lifted on 16 June 2011. 11 July 2011 was the last day a competing bidder could file a protest. On 28 July 2011, Army acquisition officials said they expected the service's newest airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, the EMARSS, to be available to the force within 18 months.

As part of the US Army's news briefing on the FY13 budget proposal on 13 February 2012, the US Army announced that it had formally decided to terminate the EMARSS program. Instead the US Army decided to focus on the Guardrail Common Sensor and the upgraded RC-12X aircraft. This followed a decision in October 2011 to send the first 4 EMARSS aircraft, designated MC-12S, already procured to the Air Force and otherwise cancel the rest of the program.

Despite the announcement of the intention to cancel the EMARSS program in 2012, the Army issued a Sources Sought Announcement on 15 March 2013 with the purpose of identifying potential sources capable of providing up to 12 EMARSS and Integrated Contractor Logistics Support for them. The announcement stated that EMARSS remained the Army's future force airborne intelligence collection, processing, and targeting support system, but also that the announcement should not be construed as a solicitation announcement, invitation for bids, request for quotations, or a request for proposals. The submission of the requested information was for planning purposes only.




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