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Updated: 2022


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

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

EMARSS complies with Department of Defense (DoD) Information Technology Standards Registry and Defense Information Systems Network. This architecture enables interoperability with any multiservice or joint system that complies with DoD standard formats for data transfer and dissemination.


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


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


  • FY18: Delivered 24 EMARSS G/M/V/S aircraft systems
  • FY18-20:
    • Installed four Mission Enhancement Kits
    • Deployed nine Program of Record aircraft in support of worldwide operational requirements (3G / 2M / 2V / 2S)
  • FY19:
    • Completed integration and initial fielding of redesigned operator workstation computer
    • Completed integration, testing, and first article installation of Airborne Wide Area Persistent Surveillance System (AWAPSS) Obsolescence Improvement Program and associated common rack
    • Selected common Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) chassis to be used on S; placed initial procurement orders
    • Met all fielding criteria and was declared as inactive for ACAT II annual reporting
    • Awarded Sensor Technology, Operations and Readiness Maintenance contract in June 2019
  • FY20:
    • Approved EMARSS Mission Equipment Package Modernization Acquisition Program Baseline
    • Completed Preliminary Design Review for Advanced LiDAR
    • Completed P3I on first EMARSS aircraft (V2)
    • Awarded Other Transactional Authority on EMARSS-V


  • FY21–FY22:
    • Address SIGINT sensor obsolescence for EMARSS-M
  • Integrate System Training Interface for EMARSS sensor capabilities into the EMARSS as Cockpit Procedural Trainer/Operator Procedural Trainer 
  • FY21-FY25:
    • Continue effort on high priority (Assured – Position, Navigation, and Timing near-peer threats) Pre-Planned Product Improvement (P3I)
    • Integrate Global Positioning System M-Code, Magna-F anti-jam antenna, Aircraft Survivability Equipment, aircraft performance upgrades
    • Continue effort on high priority P3I modifications in service (FY22–FY26) to address gaps for near-peer threats (based on availability of funding)
    • Conduct SIGINT Sensor, Software, and Architecture upgrades for EMARSS-S (development, procurement, integration, and testing)
    • Address significant Tactical Operations Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) (FY24–FY25) and AWAPSS (FY21–FY22) obsolescence issues for EMARSS-G
    • Develop Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator upgrade to address VADER obsolescence

Acquisition Life Cycle Phase

Operations and Support


The Boeing Co. (Ridley Park, PA)
L-3 Communications Aerospace Systems (Greenville, TX)
Sierra Nevada Corp. (Hagerstown, MD)
Adams Communication and Engineering Technology, Inc. (Waldorf, MD)
AASKI Technology (Aberdeen, MD)