By Geoff Fein

Boeing [BA] wants to keep alive an effort to install aboard a MV-22 Osprey a triple mode radar that would provide airborne early warning, ground moving target indication and sea surface surveillance, all on a modular palletized platform that could easily be rolled on and plugged into the aircraft, according to the company.

“It actually represents two-thirds of the capability of a combined JSTARS, AWACS, and E-2 all in one platform,” a Boeing official told Defense Daily at the annual Surface Navy Association symposium in Arlington, Va., last week.

The Tactical Organic Sensing System (TOSS) has been led by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the official added. It’s based on a British effort to install systems aboard that country’s Sea King Mk 7 airborne surveillance-and-control helicopter, the official said.

The U.K. radar is a Thales Cerberus mission system, triple-mode radar system, according to Boeing.

“The U.K. developed this radar, they have been expanding its capability. They just reintroduced it in 2005 with a triple mode capability, it’s state of the art,” the official said. “We looked around and there is not a comparable radar system that does all three modes to that degree as this one.”

According to the Boeing official, the Royal Navy has three of its Sea King Mk 7s in Afghanistan in Helmand Province supporting the coalition forces there.

“A significant portion of their tasking is coming from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and U.S. Special Forces,” the Boeing official said.

The aircraft deployed with TOSS are monitoring patterns of life, the Boeing official added. “They are able to identify traffic that moves on the road. It enables them to queue other assets based upon…whether somebody is likely to be a threat.”

The idea is to install TOSS on a number of different medium transport assets, the official added, from fixed wing, to helicopters to tiltrotors.

“[NAVSEA] wanted to see a demonstration on a MV-22 because [the Navy] is going to have 360 of those. This becomes a logical platform for an ESG commander for example,” the official added.

Additionally, with the Navy planning to buy 48 MV-22s, the service could eventually replace both the C-2A Greyhound and MH-53E helicopter with the Osprey.

If TOSS fits inside a V-22, it will fit into other assets, from Chinook helicopters to C-130 transport aircraft, the official added.

“We have done some preliminary engineering work with Thales U.K.–it’s doable,” the Boeing official said. “The NAVSEA initiative needs about $50 million to get it done. Right now, it is a matter of finding a sponsor in the OPNAV community.”

One issue with finding a sponsor is that no one has responsibility for a mission module system for aircraft, unlike, for example, the Littoral Combat Ship with its own dedicated mission package program, the Boeing official noted.

In fact, according to Boeing, TOSS is one of a range of mission kits that could potentially be carried aboard a MV-22.

With the stand-up of the Navy’s new Director for Information Dominance (N2/6), the Boeing official is hopeful that as the new N2/6 organization will take on TOSS, just as it has taken on other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms. “It kind of logically falls into their bailiwick.”

If NAVSEA and Boeing were to get the green light and move forward on TOSS, some changes would have to be made to the MV-22, the Boeing official said.

Boeing would have to get electrical connections for the system, the official said. “We have sufficient electrical power onboard the V-22 to power it.”

The company would also need to have to install an intercommunication system connection so the two TOSS operators could talk to the cockpit, the official added.

“The third thing we would need done–and this is already being done on the Block C V-22, [and is] already on CV-22s–is a Link 16 antenna to download the data,” the official said.

“We would work with Thales to modularize it and demonstrate it on a V-22,” the Boeing official added. “The Marine Corps have indicated they are interested in the capability and will make an aircraft available [for testing].”