Savannah – Over the last few months, there have been two versions of the MC-12 at Hunter AAF. There have been 224 MI Bn MC-12Ws and EMARSS MC-12Ss. The MC-12Ws are former USAF MC-12W Liberty aircraft that seem to have replaced the RC-12s that the 224th used to fly. Since the MC-12Ws arrived last year, I have not heard or seen RC-12s. The MC-12W is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform utilizing electro-optical/infared (EO/IR) systems. The MC-12Ss are EMARSS – Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System aircraft (EMARSS is the program that has replaced the Aerial Common Sensor program, which was the program that was to replace the RC-12 Guardrail program). The EMARSS aircraft combine the EO/IR capability of the Liberty aircraft with communications intelligence (COMINT) systems.
Two MC-12s have been in use: 10-00739 and 10-00742. There have been four MC-12Ss: 11-00265, 11-00266, 11-00267, and 11-00268. Mode-S codes for them are:
- AE4C61 – MC-12W, 10-00739, B/224 MI Bn
- AE4C62 – MC-12W, 10-00742, B/224 MI Bn
- AE58B4 – MC-12S, 11-00265, EMARSS
- AE58B5 – MC-12S, 11-00268, EMARSS
- AE58B6 – MC-12S, 11-00266, EMARSS
- AE58B7 – MC-12S, 11-00267, EMARSS
As far as the EMARSS aircraft go, 11-00265 and 11-00267 have been seen/heard a lot and 11-0268 has been seen/heard only sporadically, but there seems to have been at least two and often three of the MC-12Ss at Hunter as of late. While no doubt they’ve been related, there has been some separation: the MC-12Ws have flown as SUNNY ## while the MC-12Ss have flown as EMARS ##. As of last week, that is no more. Two of the MC-12Ss were flown with a SUNNY callsign on three days: 21 October 2015, 22 October 2015, and 23 October 2015. I caught the 23 October flight on both Mode-S and radio and found the other two instances by searching my RadarBox logs:
- AE58B7 – MC-12S, 11-0267, EMARSS flew as SUNNY 66 on 10/22/15, 10/23/15
- AE58B6 – MC-12S, 11-0266, EMARSS flew as SUNNY 66 on 10/21/15
The 224 MI Bn was formerly in the COMINT business with their RC-12s, so perhaps they’ve been training to take on the MC-12S mission during the EMARSS flights over the last few months? It would follow on that if that were the case, maybe some of the MC-12Ss above will become B/224 MI Bn aircraft?