E-10 MC2A

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E-10 MC2A
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E-10 MC2A

The Northrop Grumman E-10 MC2A is a military aircraft currently under development as replacement for the Boeing 707 based E-3 Sentry, E-8 Joint STARS, and EC-135 aircraft in US service. It is based on a 767-400ER airframe. In 2003, Boeing was awarded a $126 million contract for the development of the aircraft.

While the Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS aircraft are a recent development they will be the last such type to be based on the 707. To install the high technology systems envisaged for the MC2A on an increasingly obsolete airframe would not provide the capability required. The availability of powerful, reliable, ETOPS certified turbofans allowed a twinjet to be considered.

MC2A is a temporary designation, which stands for Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft. The MC2A is intended to be the ultimate theater-wide combat control center.

In August 2003 Air International reported that the goal of integrating air- and ground-search radars on a single airframe has been abandoned. Electronic interference between the AESA and ground-surveillance radars as well as the power requirements for both systems is cited as the reason. Instead the USAF will operate two separate E-10 fleets which will integrate with the proposed Space-Based Radar system, air and space-based ELINT/SIGINT assets, and space-based IMINT satellites. It will be the central command authority for all air, land, and sea forces in a combat theater. The E-10 may also be utilized as a command center for unmanned combat air vehicles. It is expected that the MC2A will utilise the Boeing Wedgetail's Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array.

The capability of the MC2A is to be raised incrementally, with each phase known as a "spiral."

  • Spiral 1 - Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP)
    This version will replace the E-8 in the ground surveillance role.
  • Spiral 2 - AWACS Capability
    This version should replace the E-3.
  • Spiral 3 - SIGINT Platform
    This version will replace the wide range of SIGINT/ELINT aircraft.


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