Boeing has flown a “risk reduction prototype” for the U.S. Army’s enhanced medium altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system (Emarss). The modified Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350ER took off from Summit Aviation’s Middletown, Del. facility, on October 6. It will explore the effects of the added fairings for sensors on the aircraft’s aerodynamics; Boeing said it is seeking an FAA supplemental type certificate for the modifications.
The Emarss program has survived a formal protest from losing contenders L-3 and Northrop Grumman, as well as Congressional criticism that it was duplicating the U.S. Air Force Project Liberty system that is already fielded. A Boeing spokesperson told AIN that the Army had already contracted for four engineering and manufacturing demonstration (EMD) aircraft and negotiated options for two initial low-rate production aircraft.
The Emarss sensor suite consists of an EO/IR full-motion video system and a Comint system connected by satellite datalinks to the Army’s DCGS ground station. At the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Convention in Washington D.C., this week, Boeing displayed a Thales I-Master surveillance radar mockup. This is being offered as a potential add-on to the aircraft.