Defense

May 2, 2014

Team JSTARS reaches 100,000-hour flying milestone

An E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System sits on a taxiway at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 1, 2014, after reaching a milestone of 100,000 flying hours to include more than 88,000 hours in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility since 2001. The JSTARS mission is to provide ground commanders with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance air power to boost force protection, defensive operations, over-watch and combat search and rescue missions throughout the AOR.

When a car surpasses 100,000 miles, it may be time to get a new one.

But when Team JSTARS flew past the 100,000-hour mark April 30 above Afghanistan, it reinforced the importance of its mission – supporting the Defense Department’s combatant commanders since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – both at home and abroad.

A one-of-a-kind capability, the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, conducts battle management and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance simultaneously – providing the ability to detect surface movers, collect imagery, and relay tactical data to ground and air theater commanders.

The joint-force unit at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., comprises the Air Force’s 461st Air Control Wing, the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th ACW and the Army’s 138th Military Intelligence Company.

Together, they have provided continuous deployed support for Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector for nearly 13 years.

“JSTARS 100,000 flying hours in support of our nation’s combatant commanders represents more than a decade of sacrifice and service by our men and women,” said Col. Kevin Clotfelter, 116th ACW commander.

“We know this marker was reached because of the sacrifice and support of our families, communities and mission partners.”

Col. Henry Cyr, 461st ACW commander, agreed.

“This milestone represents an achievement of tremendous endurance,” said Cyr. “Whether hunting terrorists, defending our borders or scouring the seas, deserts and mountains of the globe, the men and women of JSTARS have delivered on their promise to be ‘On Station’.”

“The significant Team JSTARS milestone is a clear indication of the platform’s importance and value across the entire Department of Defense,” said Lt. Col. Todd Morgan, 138th MIC commander.

Mission crew of an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System deplane at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, May 1, 2014, after reaching a milestone of 100,000 flying hours to include more than 88,000 hours in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility since 2001. The JSTARS mission is to provide ground commanders with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance air power to boost force protection, defensive operations, over-watch and combat search and rescue missions throughout the AOR.

“The interoperability of Army and Air Force personnel working in concert onboard the E-8C has enabled the platform to provide critical and timely ISR to maneuver commanders during direct combat operations.”

The operational resume of Team JSTARS includes support of six combatant commands including U.S. Pacific, Northern, Southern, Africa, European and Central commands.

Just the Facts

* Employed C2ISR in nearly 12.5K combat operations during Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn;

* 98 percent mission effectiveness rate supporting AFRICOM operations;

* Supported Moving Target Indicator taskings in multiple PACOM contingency taskings;

* 116th ACW garnered 17 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, and the 461st two Meritorious Unit Awards;

* Team JSTARS winner of 12 Air Battle Management Crew of the Year awards.




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