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The US Air Force has awarded a risk reduction study contract to Northrop Grumman Corp. for the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) Radar Modernization program. The study will be performed under Northrop Grumman’s existing Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Radar (MP-RTIP) program. The $5.8 M study will look at risk reduction efforts involved in adapting the wide-area surveillance version of the MP-RTIP sensor, originally planned for the E-10A aircraft, for Joint STARS.
“This is a critical first step for the Joint STARS Radar Modernization program,” said Tom Vice, sector vice president of Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems’ Eastern Region. “A large, advanced, wide-area surveillance version of the MP-RTIP sensor integrated on Joint STARS will provide an exponential growth in information fidelity to our joint warfighters. It will also bring vastly improved situational awareness for tracking ground movement, cruise missiles and support for irregular warfare and other emerging threats.”
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the Joint STARS program and responsible for full system life cycle support. Work on the study will be done at Northrop Grumman facilities in Norwalk, CT, Melbourne, FL and El Segundo, CA, and Raytheon’s Space and Airborne business unit. The US Air Force E-8C Joint STARS is a highly modified commercial aircraft that detects, locates, classifies, tracks and targets hostile ground movements, communicating real-time information through secure data links to ground and airborne forces.
All Joint Stars aircraft are assigned to the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Air Control Wing, a “total-force blended wing,” based at Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, GA. The wing comprises active-duty Air Force, Army and Air National Guard personnel. Crews from the 116th have flown more than 40,000 combat hours supporting coalition forces in the Global War on Terrorism.