Put MP-RTIP, with a 4-foot aperture, on a wide body aircraft, and there is lots of room for the MC2A joint battle management and integration module
Put a new AMTI system with the MC2A, and you have the E-10B, a potential follow-on to AWACS; Rivet Joint and MC2A yields the E-10C.
The thinking on MC2A has evolved considerably since 2001, according to sources close to the program.
For now, the Air Force plans to only fund a ground-surveillance version of the MC2A, called Spiral 1.
The Spiral 1 of MC2A essentially is a more cutting-edge version of Joint STARS.
A lot of the engineering talent from Joint STARS is going to roll right into MC2A," Hernandez said in an interview.
An MC2A equipped with the MP-RTIP sensor would give the United States a capability to defend ground troops from cruise missile attacks.
If MC2A had been available during the recent war in Iraq, two aircraft could have provided coverage over the entire country, this expert said.
All three versions of MC2A will be Boeing 767-400 airframes.
The decision to start the MC2A program with the ground-surveillance version puzzled many observers, who questioned whether it made sense, given that the current Joint STARS are newer 707 airframes, compared to the much older AWACS 707 airframes and the aged Rivet Joint platforms.
Raytheon will provide and integrate on board the MC2A
aircraft next- generation systems and solutions, including communications and data links; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems; unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) control; planning and control systems for on and off-board sensors; and information assurance.