Boeing Resumes Work on ‘Enhanced Medium Altitude’ Surveillance Aircraft

Work resumed following a seven-month delay caused by protests over the Army’s contract selection process filed by three losing bidders.
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The Boeing Company has resumed work on the enhanced medium altitude reconnaissance surveillance system (EMARSS) for the U.S. Army, and the military is hopeful the project will be delivered in about 18 months.

Boeing resumed work on the project following a seven-month delay caused by protests over the Army’s contract selection process filed by three losing bidders, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin/Sierra Nevada and Northrop Grumman. The protests were filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office after Boeing won the contract on Nov. 30, 2010, resulting in a “stop order” on the project.

"(Because of the protest) the GAO asked the Army to review its areas which did the selection," said Lt. Col. Dean Hoffman, product manager for the Medium Altitude Reconnaissance Surveillance System. The Army “went back to the source selection authority and gave its determination of which, once again, the authority decided that Boeing is the best value for the government,” he said.

When the contract stop-work was lifted on June 16, the Army resumed discussions with Boeing, and on July 11, the last day any protest could be submitted, work on the project resumed, Hoffman said.

Under the EMARSS program, the Army is seeking an aircraft that is “a manned multi-intelligence system that (will) detect, locate, classify, identify and trace surface targets in day and night, near-all-weather conditions with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy,” the Army says.

Boeing’s proposed EMARSS is to consist of a commercial derivative aircraft—the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350—that is equipped with an electro-optic and infrared full-motion video sensor; a communications intelligence collection system; an aerial precision guidance system; line-of-sight tactical and beyond-line-of-sight communications suites; two operator workstations; and a self-protection suite.

Its capabilities include an electro-optical/infrared with full motion video sensor, a communications intelligence sensor, and an Aerial Precision Guidance sensor, supported by line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight communications. The Army is hopeful “the first platform” will be deployed in December 2012, or early 2013, Hoffman said.