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United States : Lockheed wins VADER contract

May 8, 2014

Lockheed Martin has secured an approximately $25 million contract to put together a vehicle and dismounted exploitation radar (VADER) system into a Beechcraft King Air 350ER.

The work to put together VADER which is likely to be complete by March 2015 adds to Lockheed s continuing surveillance support efforts in Afghanistan. Since 2009, the company has functioned and supported a fleet of US Army-owned King Airs equipped with the medium-altitude reconnaissance surveillance system (MARSS).

Lockheed stated established by army task force ODIN an acronym for observe, detect, identify and neutralise MARSS aircraft include a mix of King Air 200s, 300s and 300ERs. Those aircraft are at present based at 3 locations in Afghanistan. They use full-motion video and communications and signals intelligence sensors to monitor insurgents and counter threats posed by improvised explosive devices, Robert Brusco, Lockheed s technical services business development director, tells Flightglobal.

Brusco stated Lockheed, which is currently operating under a $76 million MARSS contract awarded in 2009, has a group of 65 employees who fly and maintain the aircraft, and provide logistics and supply chain support. The aircraft fly approximately 12h daily, seven days a week.

EMARSS, which will be incorporated into new King Air 350ERs, will use electro-optical/infrared sensors, a communications intelligence payload and an aerial precision geolocation system.

The army is purchasing four EMARSS aircraft in fiscal year 2014 for $84.7 million, and intends to acquire 16 in FY2015 for $185 million.

Brusco stated Lockheed will bid on the second round of procurement, and he expects a request for proposals to be released in about a year.

He said, We are going to leverage our knowledge and familiarity with the current system to compete for the next round of these enhanced sensor aircraft .

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Source: TendersInfo (India)

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