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Multi-Sensor Command and Control Constellation (MC2C)

The Multi-Sensor Command and Control Constellation (MC2C) (also known as the "C2 Constellation Program") is a future "constellation" of air and space command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities - consisting of space-based systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, ground stations, and possibly a new multi-sensor command and control aircraft to replace the existing array of command & control (C2) intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C2ISR) aircraft.

Due to lack of funding, MC2C does not anticipate a competitive action during Government Fiscal Year 2003.

The Air Force held its first industry day for the Multi-Sensor Command and Control Constellation in May 2001 at Langley AFB, in conjunction with the National Defense Industrial Association. The conference hosted about 260 military and industry representatives.

It is critical to develop machine-to-machine interfaces that allow all our C2 and ISR assets to pass information seamlessly to whoever needs it. Many Air Force assets are stove-piped, meaning that they only talk to their processing stations. The Air Force needs them to be horizontally integrated in this constellation so they can communicate across the spectrum and ensure decision-quality information is delivered to commanders.

The Air Force will need a new multi-sensor command and control aircraft as part of the constellation, or upgrade current systems with new technology that enables these machine-to-machine interfaces. One possibility under consideration is to migrate capabilities currently delivered by AWACS, Joint STARS, Compass Call, Rivet Joint, U-2, and Airborne Command and Control Center, to a new multi-sensor command and control aircraft that could be configured for different missions, and a constellation of high- and low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles. This - coupled with improvements in space-based systems, perhaps the most important component of the constellation - would significantly increase warfighting capability.

This effort presents an opportunity to develop enterprise management techniques applicable to complex system-of-systems programs. That means doing whatever it takes to break down stove-piped barriers of individual systems, and focusing on battlefield effects users need to achieve operational objectives. Focusing on these effects is a matter of "beginning with the end in mind" and developing a set of integrated capabilities that allow the warfighter to achieve that end, that required battlefield effectd.

Adding a multi-sensor C2 aircraft that can be configured for different missions to the constellation would help mitigate long-term platform sustainment issues. Current C2 and ISR aircraft are primarily based on the aging Boeing 707/C-135 and C-130 aircraft. Sustaining the E-3 AWACS, E-8C Joint STARS, variants of the RC-135, EC-130, Compass Call, and EC-130 ABCCC, are costly due to decreasing reliability and maintainability, vanishing vendor items, and aging airframes.

Space is viewed as an increasingly critical component of the new constellation, with development of space-based infrared and space-based radar. Space is an important aspect of MC2C because it will provide persistent, worldwide, on-demand surveillance and reconnaissance for battlespace characterization, mission planning, execution and assessment. Integration of space and air systems in a collaborative approach will provide users a responsive, continuous, multi-theater capability to detect, identify and track air and surface objects, regardless of their motion or location, and weather conditions.

MC2C is an integral component of the Air Force's Global Strike Task Force, which will combine stealth and advanced weapons with an integrated C2ISR system. Supported by MC2C, B-2s and F-22s will deliver the first blows to enemy threats. The Global Strike Task Force is a "kick down the door" force providing access to battlespace in the 21st century. These integrated capabilities would focus on achieving desired operational effects, enabling the GSTF to prevail across the spectrum of pre-conflict and conflict scenario.

This complex task of creating the MC2C will require an aggressive total-team effort. Industry went to Langley to help the government develop and refine acquisition strategy, and leverage industry's investments into systems engineering, analysis, and simulation-based acquisition tools.



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