JED - August 2011 - (Page 22)

wa sh i ng to n r e p or t KEY SENATE PANEL RECOMMENDS RADICAL AIRCRAFT TRANSFER BETWEEN SERVICES The report of the influential Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on the DOD’s FY2012 budget request, released in late June, directed the Secretary of Defense to transfer the Air Force’s 37 MC-12W Project Liberty intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to the Army instead of allowing the latter service to procure similar new C-12 Enhanced Medium-Altitude Reconnaissance Surveillance System (EMARSS) aircraft of its own. (See Monitor section, pg. xx.) The MC-12W is a modified version of the King Air 350 twinturboprop built by Hawker Beechcraft and outfitted by L-3 Mission Integration (Greenville, TX) with COMINT and EO/IR sensors. The Air Force accepted its final MC-12W in August 2010, and 30 of the 37 are the latest extended-range, heavierpayload King Air 350ERs. The Army has specified the King Air 350ER as the platform for its EMARSS, which is being developed by Boeing under a $323 million contract. Like the Liberty aircraft, EMARSS will carry a communications-intelligence (COMINT) payload and an electro-optical (EO) camera ball turret, along with a pilot, co-pilot and two sensor operators. The SASC report stated, “The committee’s expectation is that, in the long run, the Department of Defense does not require two sets of 37 C-12-based ISR aircraft in two different military departments. The Army has a long-term requirement for a C-12-based ISR platform as one of the elements to replace its RC-12 Guardrail Common Sensor aircraft and to meet the requirements of [its former] Aerial Common Sensor program. The committee’s expectation is that the Army could modify the Air Force Liberty aircraft over time to the configuration of the EMARSS.” The report added, “The Army needs to retire the Guardrail aircraft, and could make use of the personnel in that program to crew the transferred Liberty aircraft to ensure no break in operational support for deployed forces. The Air Force could make use of the personnel freed up from the Liberty program to support the growth of unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] orbits, which the Air Force explains is currently limited by crews rather than airframe production capacity. The proposed transfer would save the Department considerable funds by avoiding the procurement of 37 C-12s for EMARSS.” In the committee report, the SASC directed the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense and intelligence committees on implementing the transfer by the time the DOD’s FY2013 budget request is submitted to Congress early next year. However, it urged the Pentagon to provide the plan well before this deadline “so as to inform the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act conference.” The fate of the proposed measure will have to be decided by a Senate-House Defense Authorization conference committee, since the FY2012 report of the House Armed Services Committee published in May made no such recommendation. – G. Goodman U-2 NOT READY TO RETIRE In another section of its committee report, the SASC placed a restriction on the Air Force’s long-desired retirement of its U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft fleet. The panel would delay retirement until DOD officials can certify that the operating and sustainment (O&S) costs for the Global Hawk UAV are less than those costs for the U-2 on a comparable flight-hour basis. The report said that the current average cost per flight hour of the Global Hawk is approximately $35,000 compared to about $31,000 for the U-2. However, the committee report noted that mission personnel costs for the unmanned Global Hawk are substantially higher than those of the manned U-2, despite the fact that the number of flight hours for the Global Hawk, and the number of aircraft, are significantly below those of the U-2. The committee noted that these costs could increase as the Air Force fields Block 30 and Block 40 Global Hawk aircraft with more advanced payloads. – G. Goodman 22 The Journal of Electronic Defense | August 2011 AOC BRIEFS CAPITOL HILL ON EW On July 19, the AOC hosted an EW fundamentals briefing for congressional staff to help them better understand the principals of EW, as well as the challenges facing EW in the coming years. Rep. Tim Young (Indiana, 9th District) and about 25 congressional staff attended the event, which was held in the offices of the House Armed Services Committee. The AOC briefed attendees on a range of EW topics, including the electromagnetic battlespace and near-term EW capabilities. As JED went to press, the Lexington Institute was scheduled to host a follow-on Capitol Hill event on July 28, with briefings from military EW leaders. – JED Staff a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - August 2011

The View From Here
Conference Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Defining a Career Path in EW
Technology Survey:SIGINT/DF Antennas
Book Review
EW 101
AOC Member Page
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - August 2011