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Following yesterday’s report on MON that Collins Aerospace has received a significant contract modification from the US Air Force for supply of its newest fast-jet reconnaissance pod – the MS-110 Multispectral Airborne Reconnaissance system, the company’s Regional Business Development Lead, Mission Systems, William O’Brien, reveals what he sees as a very strong demand for the system throughout Europe and with NATO partner nations.

The new IDIQ contract vehicle enables international air forces to procure the state-of-the-art MS-110 reconnaissance capability at reduced prices with significantly shorter contract to delivery schedules […] With our significant regional installed base and the IDIQ-based update option, our current customers in Eastern and Central Europe will be able to retain their existing support infrastructure and manage a time-phased in-country upgrade programme so as to avoid any interruption in this important national defence capability” he explained.

The MS-110 is the follow-on to the widely deployed DB-110 system. It offers a multi-band, true-color capability that significantly increases the intelligence value of the collected imagery with features that include features to identify camouflage and increased spatial resolution. The system provides a stand-off range capability approaching 100nm and the ability to image over 40,000sqmi/hr by both day and night. The legacy DB-110 system has the largest worldwide installed base of any long range ISR pod, with 18 customers procuring 89 pods.

Current operational platform installations are primarily on F-16s, as well as multi-intelligence aircraft such as Bombardier’s Global Express and the P-3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Collins has demonstrated a lightweight pod version of the system on the General Atomics MQ-9, where the sensor’s stand-off capability will help reduce the threat presented by advanced, longer range surface-to-air weapons.

F-16s will still be operated for some time in the region, with many nations using or in the process of acquiring 4th-gen fighters for reconnaissance missions and, with resurgent threats in the region, we see a growing demand for ISR solutions,” O’Brien added. The MS-110 in the fast jet pod is also compatible with the F-18 SUPER HORNET, which is under consideration in several European fighter competitions.

As a full ‘end-to-end’ system, an MS-110 program includes sophisticated mission planning computers as well the company’s SCI-Toolset suite of ground station exploitation software. A new ‘on-demand’ data link has also been added, which greatly increases the system’s utility for indications and warning missions during periods of escalating tensions or actual combat operations.

An F-16 sporting the fast-jet pod mounting the MS-110 multi-spectral sensor. (Photo: Collins Aerospace)

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