Defense

March 28, 2014

Initial phase of Joint STARS effort begins

An E-8C Joint STARS returns after completing a mission to perform an initial test of the Joint Range Extension Applications Protocol (JREAP-C) system, Feb. 5, 2014, at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. The JREAP-C technology will allow JSTARS operators to receive and transmit data beyond line of sight to more joint agencies at a farther distance than previously possible.

The Air Force’s Joint STARS recapitalization effort is taking off as a Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.,-led team moves toward replacing the aging fleet and beefing up its ability to detect threats, process data and distribute information.

The Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System is an airborne command and control/intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, which supports attack operations and supplies air and ground commanders with targeting information.

The current system is comprised of a radar and computer systems, which display real-time battlefield information, and a 24-foot long antenna that is capable of detecting targets from long distances. Joint STARS, which first flew during Desert Storm in 1991 and has been a consistently used military asset for nearly two decades, operates on refurbished commercial 707 airframes.

But, the aging fleet must adapt to the times.

“The next generation JSTARS will be a more affordable solution and will increase our operational capability,” said Lt. Col. Michael Harm, the JSTARS Recapitalization program manager. “More advanced communication tools are needed for success in today’s evolving battlefield.”

Born out of necessity, the recapitalization effort sprung from a 2011 study that examined options for conducting the JSTARS mission most effectively and efficiently going forward. It resulted in a recommendation to deliver an advanced radar and on-board computer system on a significantly smaller, more efficient business jet class airframe.

Early work on the effort is already under way and is expected to accelerate in fiscal year 2015, if Congress authorizes the approximately $73 million allotted for the program in the president’s budget.

An E-8C Joint STARS from the 116th Air Control Wing, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., pulls away, May 1, 2012, after refueling from a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md. The E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or Joint STARS, is an airborne battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. Its primary mission is to provide theater ground and air commanders with ground surveillance to support attack operations and targeting that contributes to the delay, disruption and destruction of enemy forces.

Currently, the recapitalization is in its infancy and the Hanscom AFB team is conducting risk reduction studies and market research for the aircraft, radar and communications. During this phase, the Air Force plans on using existing contracts to define requirements, support demos and issue preliminary designs.

This is potentially good news for small businesses.

“By leveraging the use of existing contracts, it will lead to more opportunities for small businesses to participate in both the acquisition and sustainment of the new fleet,” Harm said. “One of our goals is to develop modular, scalable subsystems using an open systems architecture approach to enable rapid improvements in the future.”

Under this premise, the Air Force hopes to promote competition, enabling new capabilities to be added quicker and more affordably. As the next generation fleet comes online, the service intends to fully retire the remaining aging aircraft.

With a tentative initial operational capability slated for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 and a potential full operational capability scheduled for fiscal 2025, Air Force officials have made their modernization efforts clear.

“Meeting our goal to deliver the Joint STARS mission area capability on a modern, more efficient airframe and reduce lifecycle costs will increase the capacity to support combatant commands, carrying on the legacy of Joint STARS,” Harm said. “The JSTARS recapitalization is an investment in our future.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 29, 2014

News: U.S. military limits warplanes used for Islamic State bombings - The U.S. is relying mostly on warplanes already positioned in the region for its air war against the Islamic State, as opposed to dispatching a major buildup of aerial forces that happened in previous campaigns.   Business: At DOD, it’s use-it-or-lose-it season - As fiscal 2014...
 
 

News Briefs September 29, 2014

Navy awards ship design grant to UNO The University of New Orleans has received a $210,000 grant from the Navy s Office of Naval Research to test information gathering and analysis techniques intended to improve warship design. The goal for warship designers is to produce a vessel that can be repurposed numerous times throughout its...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

TACP-M ties it all together

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Lealan Buehrer Tactical air control party specialists with the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron survey an enemy-controlled landing zone before calling in close-air support Aug. 14, 20...
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Nellis aggressor squadron inactivated

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler SSgt. Justin White signals to Maj. Sam Joplin to begin taxiing a 65th Aggressor Squadron F-15 Eagle to the runway Sept. 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base Nev. The roles and responsib...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger

82nd Airborne helps commemorate 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden

Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger A paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, reflects near the grave of a British paratrooper at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Sept. 14, 2014, in the Netherlands. The...
 
 

Raytheon awarded $251 million Tomahawk missile contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded Raytheon a $251 million contract to procure Tomahawk Block IV tactical cruise missiles for fiscal year 2014 with an option for 2015. The contract calls for Raytheon to build and deliver Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles to the U.S. Navy and U.K. Royal Navy. Raytheon will also conduct flight tests...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>