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JSTARS Upgrade

Photo: Aircrew members from the 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, monitor surveillance data while flying a night mission aboard an E-8C Joint STARS. Senior Master Sgt Roger Parsons/US Air Force

 

Aircrew members from the 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, monitor surveillance data while flying a night mission aboard an E-8C Joint STARS. Senior Master Sgt Roger Parsons/US Air Force

MILITARY

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $17.5 million contract for a fifth-generation upgrade to the central computers on 16 aircraft in the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) fleet.

Northrop Grumman said: “This serves as the low-risk pathfinder for the US Air Force to continue to add advanced battle management capabilities on the fleet.

Jane Bishop, vice president, manned airborne surveillance programmes, Northrop Grumman, said: “Our latest central computer replacement programme upgrades the current computers with powerful, advanced technology running Linux – delivering a quantum leap forward to the mission system. Our goal is to continue to rapidly deliver new capability to our combatant commanders to ensure that Joint STARS always provides our warfighters with information dominance for decision superiority,”

Colonel David Menke, Senior Materiel Leader, C2ISR Division, Digital Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Centre, US Air Force, said: “This upgrade is a win for the necessary investment to modernise the E-8C fleet. Central computer fielding will improve mission system performance and ultimately improve warfighter battlefield advantage.”

Joint STARS offers battlefield commanders real-time situational information while simultaneously transmitting target locations to aircraft and ground strike forces. Joint STARS is an all-weather, long-range, real-time, wide area surveillance and battle management and command and control weapon system.

“Northrop Grumman’s battle management command and control team continues to leverage its 33 years of experience in this mission domain and strong partnership with the Air Force to deliver new battle management capabilities to meet

evolving operational warfighter demands,”

Bishop added more than 25 new capabilities have been added to Joint STARS in the past 15 years. Joint STARS has flown in every major US combat operation since Desert Storm in 1991, though the first production Joint STARS aircraft was not delivered until 1996. Northrop Grumman delivered the final E-8C production aircraft in 2005.

The first computer replacement program was completed 2001. At that time, Northrop Grumman engineers incorporated commercially available off-the-shelf technology into the weapon system. This innovative effort reduced weight significantly to save fuel cost and added more mission processing capability in an affordable way, Northrop Grumman said.

Source: Northrop Grumman

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