The story behind the USAF's failed E-10A MC2A programme

The Northrop Grumman E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A) was an ambitious program to replace several types with a single model. As David Willis reveals, it proved to be too ambitious and was quickly dropped when the US Air Force (USAF) needed funds for higher priority projects.

E-10A MC2A concept image [Northrop Grumman]
The Northrop Grumman E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft was an ambitious attempt to modernise the USAF’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. Development was cancelled because the service had higher priorities to fund. Northrop Grumman

Gen John Jumper, then commander of Air Combat Command, initiated the MC2A program in 2001, to replace not only the Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS), but also the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and RC-135 Rivet Joint with a single wide-body platform.

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