JSTARS Recap Delayed

The Air Force has an “affordable strategy” with regard to the recapitalization program for the E-8 JSTARS fleet, but it doesn’t have new numbers yet, deputy USAF budget director Carolyn Gleason said Tuesday. “The program’s had some struggles and we’ve extended the risk reduction phase,” she said at a Pentagon budget briefing. The engineering, manufacturing, and development phase will be delayed “roughly a year” in order to “get the program back on track.” Budget documents call for $128 million for JSTARS recap in Fiscal 2017. The Air Force had wanted to declare initial operating capability with a new JSTARS system in 2023. The Air Force’s budget briefing slides said JSTARS Recap will provide “critical C2 [command and control] with enhanced ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] capabilities.” Former USAF acquisition chief William Plante said last fall the Air Force’s requirements for the JSTARS Recap were solid, but a Pentagon-wide consensus on what the platform should be was under debate, with some communities wanting chiefly a command and control platform while others wanted a long-endurance ISR system, possibly unmanned.