Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) says it has delivered two more King Air 350 mission enhancement kit (MEK) aircraft in support of the US Army’s surveillance operations.
SNC’s MEK adds enhanced mission capabilities to the Army’s Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS) fleet.
“Increasing safety while maintaining diverse mission capabilities is of the utmost importance for us at SNC,” said Tim Owings, executive vice president of SNC’s Mission Solutions and Technologies business area. “We are honored by the Army’s continued trust in us to provide this game-changing technology for these critical missions.”
EMARSS provides a persistent airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to detect, locate, classify, identify and track surface targets. It enhances brigade combat team effectiveness by providing surveillance, targeting support and threat warning. The aircraft uses a tailored set of distributed common ground system-army (DCGS-A) enabled software intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functionalities to process and exploit intelligence derived from the imagery sensors. Selected EMARSS imagery is immediately processed on the aircraft and forwarded to DCGS-A for further processing, analysis and reporting.
Mission enhancement kit that is currently being rolled out reduces aircraft weight, increases engine performance and reduces the overall sound signature to enhance its stealth capabilities in high-altitude areas. SNC modifies the aircraft to increase time aloft and allow for additional operating weight without greater take-off risk. It also enables operations on shorter runways, making the aircraft more suitable for a wider variety of operational environments.
The Army has procured 16 MEK upgrades to date, while a total of 24 EMARSS systems are planned for acquisition. The latest delivery brings the total number of integrated airframes delivered to 9, including three deliveries this year.