$8B ACS Spy Plane Program Shot Down By Pentagon

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ACS ERJ-145 Concept(click to view full) In 2005 it looked like the Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) program, a joint US Army/ US Navy program, would replace three different reconnaissance planes used for signals interception (SIGINT), ground-looking SAR radars, and imagery intelligence (IMINT). By November 2005 Lockheed had dropped Embraer’s ERJ-145 jet from its proposal in favor of Bombardier’s larger, longer-range, longer endurance Global Express jet. Its new design would closely resemble the in-service British ASTOR Sentinel R1 in order to offer lower risk, greater cost certainty, and even allied interoperability. Hedging its bets, Lockheed also offered the US military a cut-down ERJ-145 option with less equipment as a lower-budget alternative. In the end, however, neither move availed them. The ACS Program: No Happy Ending UK’s ASTOR Sentinel R1(click to view full) In mid-December of 2005, the US military extended the ACS review period, a move that indicated residual unease. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reports that the US Army’s head of acquisitions recommended canceling the program in December 2005, but Army secretary Francis Harvey decided to extend the review by a month. At the end of that review period, Lockheed’s $879 million ACS contract has indeed been cancelled, essentially shelving […]

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