Northrop Grumman successfully transferred radar data from an RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 remotely piloted aircraft to an E-8C JSTARS ground-surveillance airplane, announced the company. This exchange, which took place on Feb. 25, was the first collaborative effort to transfer ground-moving target radar data from a Global Hawk to a JSTARS, according to the company’s March 6 release. “This is a significant leap forward in terms of possible capabilities for our warfighters,” said Bryan Lima, the company’s JSTARS program director. He added, “Operators in the JSTARS aircraft were able to use the Global Hawk as an adjunct sensor. We were able to display and use the Global Hawk’s radar data on the JSTARS.” Operators could then relay the information from the Global Hawk to ground forces, who would benefit from the expanded surveillance area offered by the linked airborne platforms, stated the company.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.