Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have unveiled their partners for the US Army's Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) programme, following selection of the two competing teams for the component advanced development phase. With the army yet to decide on its choice of platform for ACS, system flexibility is regarded as critical to winning the full contract to be awarded next year.

ACS is intended to serve as a single type replacement for the US Army's RC-7 Airborne Reconnaissance Low and RC-12 Guardrail Common Sensor aircraft. The programme calls for the development of an integrated data collection system combining signals intelligence (SIGINT) and imagery, with a ground station for information dissemination.

Lockheed Martin's bid is being led by its Denver-based Space Systems division and will include its Aeronautics, Technical Operations and Systems Integration businesses. Lockheed Martin's Management and Data Systems will be charged with integration, while partners Argon will be responsible for the SIGINT element, Harris for communications and Veridian Engineering for modelling and mission payload.

The company has not revealed its recommended platform other than it is a business jet. "We did an analysis of alternatives covering 30 different platforms and provided the information to the army programme executive office," says Wes Colbun, Lockheed Martin acting vice-president ground systems.

Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronics Systems will be its prime contractor, Integrated Systems will be responsible for air platform system integration and logistics support, and Information Technology will handle modelling and simulation. Responsibility for the SIGINT package went to TRW's Electromagnetic System Laboratory.

Source: Flight International