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 December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




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>