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Collins Aerospace is to deliver higher-resolution, longer-range capabilities on USN maritime experimental flights with the MS-177A long-range, multi-spectral imaging ISR sensor, the company announced on 14 September.

The USN Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded the company a $19.9 million (€16.8 million) contract to conduct a maritime experiment of the MS-177A on a P-3C ORION. The experiment will mark the first time the sensor has been flown by the Navy. The previous version of the sensor, the MS-177, has completed flight testing on the USAF GLOBAL HAWK and will soon go operational.

Over the course of the 30-month contract period, Collins Aerospace will fabricate an MS-177A sensor and supporting flight test hardware from its existing USAF production line, and install it on the P-3C. The follow-on phase will encompass experimental flights in a maritime threat environment. Results of the experiment will demonstrate the sensors’ ability to expand the Navy’s maritime ISR capabilities in the ASW, ASuW and mine warfare mission domains, using a mature USAF sensor system.

When used in conjunction with other spectrum sensors, our proven MS-177 family of systems can greatly increase the probability of detection for threats, while operating in both permissive and contested environments,” explained Kevin Raftery, VP and General Manager, ISR and Space Solutions for Collins Aerospace.

The MS-177A system employs design elements of Collins Aerospace’s fielded Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) sensor, flown on the U-2 to deliver high geo-location accuracy, collecting imagery in the Visible, Near-IR, SWIR and MWIR spectral channels, resulting in advanced terrestrial and maritime mission capabilities. The MS-177A sensor’s field of view and spectral and spatial resolution offer unmatched high-resolution, multi-spectral, high coverage rate airborne ISR capability. Its long-range performance allows the host platform to operate in contested as well as permissive environments on both land and sea, by day or night.

The MS-177A at rest. (Photo: Collins Aerospace)

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