Boeing Expands Its Tactical ISR Testing with Ramis

Building on its earlier work to design the specialized Yellow Jacket sensor suite for an unnamed customer, Boeing is continuing work on a newer tactical ISR collector being offered for this budding, global market. Mum's the word on the Yellow Jacket mission but it was designed for specific Masint, Sigint and Comint tasks.

The RAMIS, or Reconfigurable Airborne Multi-Int ISR System is among the company's wares on display at the annual Association of the U.S. Army symposium this week in Washington. Having completed Yellow Jacket testing -- as well as trials of a Yellow Jacket Plus -- the Boeing-owned Beechcraft Kingair 350 ER is now being used for RAMIS testing, says Mike Ferguson, a business development official for Boeing Electronics and Mission systems. 

RAMIS is capable of collecting various types of intelligence simultaneously, including Sigint/Comint; electro-optical/infrared and full-motion video; wide-area intelligence (with a latency of a few frames per second) and a radar for moving target surveillance. 

The RAMIS testbed already has an FAA type certification, so switching out payloads to experiment only requires a log entry, easing the process to test and shortening the schedule, Ferguson says. 

The market for this type of aircraft is robust; Ferguson estimates it could go as high as 90 tails. 

Saudi Arabia is likely the nearest customer for a "high end" RAMIS-derived solution wtih Canada also nearer term but looking for a single mission intelligence collector, he says. 

Meanwhile, Boeing is continuing work on the U.S. Army Enhanced Medium-Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System, also a multi-int collector based on the Kingair 350ER. Despite developmental challenges described by Army procurement chief Heidi Shyu as "stumbles," she seemed upbeat for testing. A procurement decision would come after tests wrap up. The Army has ordered 6 Emarss aircraft. 

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