US ARMY Contracting Command awarded L-3 Communications Corporation’s Mission Integration Division a contract on March 31 for the modification of one government-owned Quick Reaction Capability MC-12W Liberty Project aircraft to an Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System – Multi-Intelligence (EMARSS-M) aircraft. Work on the $31.8 million deal will be performed at L-3’s facility in Grenville, Texas, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2016.
An initial $7.6 million in funding was released at the time of the award of this sole-source contract, for which L-3 was the only bidder invited. During the 18-month contract period, 12 months will cover system design and integration, with the remaining six months being used for Government airworthiness and operational testing.
The conversion will involve adding new capabilities to an ex-US Air Force MC-12W, including net-ready, tactical data links, bringing the aircraft to a similar standard to the MC-12S EMARSS aircraft now being developed for the US Army by Boeing. After modification, the aircraft will be re-designated the EMARSS-M.
The EMARSS system is designed to detect, locate, identify and track surface targets, day or night, in almost any weather conditions. Mission equipment fit includes an electro-optical/infra-red sensor, communications intelligence collection system, aerial precision geolocation equipment, line-of-sight tactical and beyond line-of-sight communications, a self-protection suite and two Distributed Command Ground System-Army work stations. The US Army plans to operate at least 12 EMARSS aircraft, while it is considering acquiring up to a further 20. Additional USAF MC-12Ws that are being transferred to the Army are also expected to be converted to EMARSS-M standard, while others may be based on new-build airframes. Alan Warnes