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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

Aerial Common Sensor [ACS]

The Aerial Common Sensor [ACS] program -- a corps-level system -- will be the replacement for the Crazy Horse, Guardrail Common Sensor and Airborne Reconnaissance Low, airborne intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition systems. The Army plans to acquire 45 new aircraft at a cost of $2 billion on this new fleet of aerial surveillance and reconnaissance planes, to be fielded in 2006.

ACS will be capable of carrying a mix of payloads to detect, classify, accurately locate, track, and rapidly disseminate time-sensitive data to warfighters at all echelons. It will be capable of intercept and DF in the HF, VHF and UHF spectrums, ELINT and IMINT. It will be capable of worldwide, self-deployment, immediately capable of beginning operations when arriving in theater using aircraft-to-satellite relays, back to the ground processing facility located at the main operating base. Critical characteristics include operation across the full spectrum of operations, fully deployable, open architecture design and ability to arrive in theatre ready to fight. Operation in hot, moderate, or cold climates, NBC contamination and decontamination capabilities compatible with supported unit are required. Platform will function up to 30,000 ft. PA (35,000 ft. desired if non-milspec) and be capable of low political profile. The package will consist of three subsystems: Airborne Platform Subsystem (APS), Airborne Mission Equipment Subsystems (AMES) and Ground Exploitation Station Subsystem (GESS).


System components:
  • Aircraft
  • Airborne Mission Equipment Subsystem
  • Ground Exploitation Station Subsystem

  • IMINT: FLIR, DIS, IRLS, MTI, Multispectral
  • MASINT: Counter deception, OPSEC support
  • LOS coverage 450 km from aircraft
  • Mission altitude: 20,000-30,000 ft
  • Endurance: ??
  • Data link range: ??
  • Communications emitters
  • Jammers
  • Noncomms emitters
  • Aircraft is self deployable
  • Split base/remote operations
  • Precision location/targeting
  • NRT intelligence Dissemination
  • Optional on-board operators
  • Optionally piloted

Sources and Methods

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Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Created by John Pike
Updated Thursday, November 25, 1999 1:01:31 PM