Lockheed, Harris and Embraer join on Army aerial program

Lockheed Martin Corp., Harris Corp. and Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A. ? commonly called Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace company ? are teaming to compete for the next phase of the $1 billion Aerial Common Sensor program, the Army's next-generation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system.

Lockheed Martin is conducting architecture development activities as part of a 15-month development contract awarded in 2002.

Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed were the two contractors selected then to continue development of the ACS system after a competitive concept exploration design phase.

Wes Colburn, deputy vice president for Lockheed Martin Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems, said the release of the Army's request for proposal for system design and development, the program's next phase, is imminent, and an award likely will come during the first quarter of 2004. He said this phase is for four years. Low-rate production is slated to begin after this phase.

The ACS system is intended to replace the Army's Guardrail/Common Sensor and the Airborne Reconnaissance Low Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems. It is designed to carry multiple intelligence sensors, providing a system that will be rapidly deployable and can be tailored to specific needs of warfighters in the field. This system is a leading element in the Army's transformation program.

Harris, based in Melbourne, Fla., will lead development of the communications portion of the core information system and share in developing the intelligence processing system. The company will assist Lockheed Martin with VHF and UHF radios, airborne satellite communications and the common data link, among other responsibilities.

Embraer will provide an airframe based on its ERJ 145/EMB 145, in service around the world for the Lockheed Martin-designed ACS system. Along with exterior modifications to accommodate a range of antennas, the aircraft will be modified for extended range and payload capacity.

Embraer recently announced it will produce aircraft in Jacksonville, Fla., qualifying the company as a U.S. government supplier for defense and homeland security programs.

Based in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp. employs 125,000 people. The company's 2002 revenue was $26.6 billion.

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