The EMARSS system consists of a King Air 350ER aircraft equipped with an electro-optic/infra-red (EO/IR) sensor, communications intelligence collection system, an aerial precision geolocation system, line-of-site tactical and beyond line-of-site communications suites, two Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) workstations and a self-protection suite.
The EMARSS contributes to filling critical gaps in the Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) coverage to be successful across the Range of Military Operations and especially in Irregular Warfare (IW) operations. The US Army will deploy four EMARSS aircraft in Afghanistan for assessing the forward capabilities of the aircraft. It is also currently deployed for operational missions in the SOUTHCOM and AFRICOM theaters. The regions these commands work are relatively low threat environments for American aircraft, but offer no shortage of work tracking drug smugglers, terrorists, and insurgents in remote areas.
The mission of EMARSS is to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition operations in support of ground combat units in overwatch and to maintain a persistent presence over demonstrated at-risk areas. The EMARSS offers significant benefits to the armed forces by collecting, analysing and providing real-time intelligence information to war fighters instantly. It provides a persistent multi-intelligence capability to detect, locate, classify/ identify, and track surface targets in day/night, near-all-weather conditions with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy.
EMARSS includes a low-risk, low-cost enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. It is filling need for aircraft that are less expensive to acquire, maintain, and operate, typically niche capabilities that do not require the range or full mission services of an AWACS or JSTARS.
EMARSS design and development
The EMARSS is designed as an open architecture, plug-and-play system, which allows for the integration of a variety of sensors and software according to the mission requirements. The EMARSS can be customised to install several sensor systems such as electro-optical/infrared cameras and MX-15 full-motion video cameras. It can be installed with a wide area surveillance system to recognise and generate images of a terrain.
The Army is also integrating EMARSS with several cutting-edge technologies, to include a Northrop Grumman-built Vehicle and Dismounted Exploitation Radar (VADER) radar imaging technology. VADER uses Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI).
Sensors aboard EMARSS aircraft
The complete EMARSS system includes a Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 installed with an electro-optic and infrared full-motion video sensor and a communications intelligence collection system. The aircraft is equipped with an aerial precision guidance (APG) system and line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight communications suites.
The EMARSS facilitates its crew to coordinate with the other intelligence assets near to it. It can immediately access the information from the ground station intelligence experts. It is also capable of performing standalone operations as well as coordinated missions. It has an endurance of more than seven hours.
It includes two distributed common ground system-army (DCGS-A) enabled operator consoles and a self-protection suite. The EMARSS is connected to the US Army’s DCGS-A database through a data-link. DGC-A is the EMARSS’s ground station supporting pre-mission, mission, and post mission operations. The DCGS-A is capable of collecting, analysing and distributing data from more than 500 data sources including space-based sensors, geospatial information, signal and human intelligence sources.
EMARSS contains a tailored set of processing software functionalities to process, exploit, and rapidly disseminate the intelligence derived from the imagery sensor. The imagery and APG operators release time sensitive information directly to the Brigade Supported teams (BCT) enabling tactical ground forces to operate at their highest potential.
EMARSS complies with the DoD Information Technology Standards Registry and the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN). This architecture permits interoperability with any multi-service system that complies with DoD-standard formats for data transfer and dissemination.
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