Senators Say MC-12 Switch Would Avoid Mission Duplication

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s move to transfer ownership of the Air Force’s MC-12W Liberty aircraft fleet to the Army came because these Senators believe that Liberty’s tactical intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance mission is best conducted by the land service, said a committee spokeswoman. “The committee felt that this was an enduring mission of the Army, that these aircraft could best be operated and supported in the long term within the Army force structure, and transferring the aircraft would avoid the duplications of pursuing the Army’s [Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System] program,” Tara Andringa, press secretary for Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), SASC chairman, told the Daily Report. Andringa said the SASC airland subcommittee chairman included the language directing the switch in the subcommittee’s mark-up package, based on staff recommendations. The full committee accepted it. MC-12s are providing invaluable real-time streaming imagery and signals intelligence to ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Army envisions a fleet of EMARSS aircraft to perform a similar mission. Last December, it chose Boeing to supply the EMARSS fleet, which like Liberty aircraft, will be based on the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350.