The Search for a New JSTARS

Planners recently launched the search for a New JSTARS ground surveillance aircraft to replace the Air Force’s legacy E-8C fleet. A team at Hanscom AFB, Mass., began risk analysis and research into business jet sized aircraft as well as radar and communications systems that could be economically paired for the ground surveillance mission. “One of our goals is to develop modular, scalable subsystems using an open systems architecture approach to enable rapid improvements in the future,” said Lt. Col. Michael Harm, JSTARS recapitalization program manager, in a March 26 release. The recapitalization program aims to “reduce lifecycle costs” while increasing “the capacity to support combatant commands, carrying on the legacy of Joint STARS,” added Harm. Assuming the $73 million requested in the Fiscal 2015 budget is approved, the program will pick up pace next year, with the goal of initially fielding an aircraft in 2022, states the release.