The US Air force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a five-year, $532 M contract for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) System Improvement Program to provide system design and development improvements to the E-8C Joint STARS fleet. The contract covers the engineering, design, development, integration, test and delivery of various enhancements and upgrades to the Joint STARS fleet for the period of the contract. It also includes items such as technical orders, support equipment, initial spares and training and procurement of production and support system retrofit kits and documentation.

“This is an important step toward upgrading these low density, high demand aircraft to maintain their viability to the warfighter,” said Dave Nagy, vice president of the Joint STARS program for Northrop Grumman. “Joint STARS will be the Defense Department’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance constellation for many years to come, so it is important that we can continue to add capability to this unique aircraft.” The E-8C Joint STARS is the world’s most advanced, wide-area airborne ground surveillance, targeting and battle management system. It detects, locates, classifies, tracks and targets hostile ground movements, communicating real-time information through secure data links with Air Force and US Army command posts.

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.