Sunday, November 27, 2022

Northrop Grumman to upgrade U.S. Air Force’s JSTARS surveillance planes

U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp has been awarded a $495 million contract for the modernization and sustainment of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft, according to a recent Department of Defense news release.

The contract, from Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, provides for modernization and sustainment of 16 mission and one trainer aircraft.

The contract will support the current JSTARS Program Office and Air Combat Command projections of improvements to increase or maintain E-8C performance, capability, reliability, and maintainability.  Work will be provided at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia; and Melbourne, Florida, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 26, 2024.


The JSTARS 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 situational awareness to support military operations.

Team JSTARS contributed tremendously to overseas contingency operations, flying more than 85,000 combat hours in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn Odyssey Dawn, and Unified Protector. Their operational resume includes support of six Combatant Commands including U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Europe Command.

In 2015, team JSTARS set a major milestone when they surpassed 100,000-combat flying hours in support of the U.S. Central Command while flying the E-8C Joint STARS out of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Earlier in 2014, the joint and total force team comprised of the 116th Air Control Wing, from the Georgia Air National Guard; the 461st Air Control Wing; and the Army’s 138th Military Intelligence Company, surpassed 100,000-flying hours collectively in support of all combatant commands across the globe.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.