The Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS) provides a persistent Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) capability to detect, locate, classify, identify and track surface targets with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy during the day, night and nearly all weather conditions. It enhances Brigade Combat Team effectiveness by defining and assessing the environment and providing surveillance, targeting support and threat warning.

EMARSS contains a tailored set of Distributed Common Ground System – A (DCGS-A) enabled software intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functionalities to process, exploit and rapidly disseminate the intelligence derived from the imagery sensor. Selected EMARSS imagery is immediately processed on the aircraft and forwarded to DCGS-A for further processing, analysis and reporting.

EMARSS complies with DoD Information Technology Standards Registry and Defense Information Systems Network. This architecture permits interoperability with any multiservice or Joint systems that comply with DoD standard formats for data transfer and dissemination.


EMARSS, together with Aerial Exploitation Battalions within the Intelligence and Security Command, provides command and control, mission planning, sustainment support, and deployment packages to facilitate worldwide missions in accordance with standard Joint and Army tasking processes.


  • EMARSS-S: Multi-intelligence with Broad Spectrum Signals Intelligence and High Definition (HD) Full Motion Video (FMV)
  • EMARSS-G: Geographical intelligence with Wide Area Surveillance, Light Imaging and Ranging, and HD FMV
  • EMARSS-M: Multi-intelligence with Signals Intelligence and HD FMV
  • EMARSS-V: Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER) Moving Target Indication (MTI) with Vehicle and Dismount MTI, Signals Intelligence and HD FMV

Program Status


  • EMARSS: Capability Production Document approved; Milestone C Decision approved; authorized an acquisition strategy to leverage and incorporate Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) AISR systems into the EMARSS Program of Record (POR); transferred eight Liberty Project Aircraft from the Air Force to the Fixed Wing Project Office (FW PO) for future integration into the EMARSS-M variant; FW PO assumed overall program management responsibility for the ACAT II EMARSS Program of Record (POR)


  • Completed Limited User Test for EMARSS-S
  • Awarded Initial Variant Modification contract to initiate strategy to modify QRC aircraft to incorporate into the EMARSS POR
  • VADER: QRC – Divested two Twin Otter aircraft with VADER systems after two VADER systems (VADER 3 and 4) were fielded on King Air B300 platforms; VADER 3, 4 and 5 employed reachback control of VADER, FMV and signals intelligence via beyond-line-of-sight; VADER 5 was integrated under Rapid Acquisition Authority, completed under budget in 12 months and deployed in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel


  • Completion of New Equipment Training for EMARSS-S
  • Award Follow-on Variant Modification contract authorizing the modification of the remaining QRC aircraft to be incorporated into the EMARSS POR

Projected Activities

  • FY16: Deploy and sustain OCONUS, three EMARSS-S aerial systems (MC-12S)

Foreign Military Sales



  • The Boeing Co. (Ridley Park, PA)
  • L-3 Communications Mission Integration (Greenville, TX)
  • Sierra Nevada Corp. (Hagerstown, MD)
  • Adams Communication and Engineering Technology, Inc. (Waldorf, MD)
  • Hawker Beechcraft Corp. (Wichita, KS)
  • L-3 Communication Systems-West (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • CACI (Arlington, VA)