TYPE: Airborne multisensor command and control system.
PROGRAMME: Now in doubt, following withdrawal of funding, programme launched when Boeing 767-400ER selected by USAF in second quarter of 2002 to serve as testbed for next-generation multisensor command and control aircraft (MC2A); may also have been chosen as platform for production system, for which decision originally expected in about July 2005 as part of Milestone B approval process, although now unlikely until after 2008 as consequence of continued uncertainty over future direction of programme and repeated substantial cuts in funding. On 14 May 2003, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon received a pre-system development and demonstration contract, worth USD215 million, for weapon system integration. E-10 will be equipped with Northrop Grumman Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) J-band radar; this merges moving target indicator over synthetic aperture radar, resulting in enhanced ground moving target indicator capability.
Trials intended to validate this new concept of intelligence gathering undertaken with a Boeing 707 (N404PA) that flew for the first time in modified form on 18 April 2002; known as Paul Revere, this aircraft performed a series of operational test flights in mid-2002, including some as part of the Joint Expeditionary Forces experiment at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Key objectives to be addressed by Paul Revere comprise directing activities of manned and unmanned air and space sensor systems used for surveillance and reconnaissance; integration and monitoring of all-source sensor data; location, identification, designation and tracking of targets using multisensor integration software techniques; undertaking weapon-target matching; establishing tactical priorities and objectives when engaging time-sensitive targets; and accomplishment of rapid and timely bomb damage assessment following an attack.
Total procurement of E-10 was dependent upon whether USAF chose to add AMTI (airborne moving target indicator) capability or deploy another type of platform to replace the E-3 Sentry from 2035 onwards. At present, notional Increment 2 E-10 aircraft will not feature AMTI sensor (radar), but may have the potential for integrating AMTI data obtained from external source. However, recent changes in programme direction have seen mission focusing almost exclusively on detection of cruise missiles and moving ground targets.
The 767-400ER testbed was the subject of a USD 126 million contract awarded to Boeing in August 2003. Delivery of the 'green' aircraft was then expected in December 2006, at which time to have been flown to Northrop Grumman’s facility at Lake Charles, Louisiana, for modification to E-10 configuration. To have been fitted with prototype systems tasked with battle management, command, control, communications and intelligence. Development of this subsystem was expected to take five years and cost in excess of USD400 million.
The system development and demonstration (SDD) phase was originally due to begin in mid-2004, but was delayed by at least two years. In the interval, work continued on the key MP-RTIP sensor, with Northrop Grumman receiving a USD888 million contract in April 2004 for Phase 2 SDD work that was expected to result in application to the E-10 as well as the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV.
Solicitation for the E-10 battle management command and control (BMC2) system began in June 2003. Three teams, headed by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, were in competition, with all three invited in April 2004 to bid for the SDD contract. Formal submission of proposals followed in May 2004, with Northrop Grumman’s system being selected in September 2004, at which time development cost was projected to be slightly over USD300 million.
In August 2006, E-10 was excluded from FYO8 Program Objective Memorandum, a document outlining proposed Air Force spending plans for the period FY08 to FY13, implying its abandonment. Development continued, however, and between 7 and 9 October 2006, the contractor 'flew' a fully functional mock-up of its proposed battle management command and control (BMC2) subsystem as the central node in a network of simulated battlefield sensors, command and control elements and precision strike elements.
Critical platform design review completed mid-November 2006 to ensure all design requirements identified and that initial design by the customer/contractor team reflected those requirements: this leading to detail design; final design review; and start of modification of Boeing 767-400ER testbed airframe, which was due for delivery in unmodified state in December 2007. On 8 January 2007, Northrop Grumman announced receipt of USD256 million contract for design and analysis of E-10A Technology Development Program (TDP) through initial design review, then scheduled for May 2007. Thereafter, no further funds assigned, and programme expected to stagnate.
CURRENT VERSIONS: Three basic versions in prospect, although only the E-10A was funded; this will feature the primary MP-RTIP sensor and have cruise missile defence as a cornerstone capability. Under original schedule, system testbed, with MP-RTIP, expected to make maiden flight in 2009; followed by first two production aircraft in 2012 and remaining two in 2013. However, budget cut of USD115 million for FY05 appropriation imposed by Congress, with consequent impact on deployment operationally; in late 2004, in-service date expected to be 2015, while further reductions in funding being considered in early 2005 likely to delay IOC until 2018. Deployment now unlikely.
E-10B: perceived as a replacement for E-3 Sentry with enhanced air moving target indicator capability if it comes to fruition, while E-10C viewed as a replacement for RC-135 Rivet Joint, with enhanced sigint/comint gathering capability.
COSTS: Development and production of a system testbed and four operational E-10 aircraft as originally proposed estimated to be USD5.3 billion.
POWER PLANT: Two 282 kN (63,500 lb st) General Electric CF6-80C2B8F high-bypass turbofans.
ACCOMMODATION: BMC2 system of basic E-10A expected to require about 25 operators in addition to flight deck crew. Additional personnel will be required on E-10B and E-10C versions.
SYSTEMS: Supplemental electric power system by Hamilton Sundstrand. 1 MW auxiliary power unit located in aft cargo hold.
AVIONICS: Northrop Grumman MP-RTIP J-band radar sensor accommodated in 6.09 m (20 ft 0 in) ventral housing beneath forward fuselage section.