Lawmakers: Air Force May Scrap E-8 JSTARS Upgrade
The Air Force may be mulling a plan to scrap its E-8 JSTARS recapitalization program — or so two lawmakers think.
Georgia Sens. Johnny Isakson and David A. Perdue said they were “alarmed” to find out the Air Force may pursue “alternative intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms” instead of procuring new radar planes capable of developing, detecting, locating and tracking moving targets on the ground.
The lawmakers “were recently informed that the Air Force wishes to explore alternate intelligence and surveillance platforms instead of continued pursuit of the recapitalization of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) fleet,” Isakson and Perdue said in a letter sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis on Sept. 8.
The 16 aircraft fleet operates out of Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
The senators said they have not received the rationale for the service reportedly axing the recap program, and furthermore, could not understand how the service could “conduct an analysis of alternatives prior to initiating the recapitalization process.”
- Air Force Launches $6.9 Billion JSTARS Competition
- Air Force Advances JSTARS Replacement Efforts
- Military.com Equipment Guide: E-8 JSTARS
The letter aside, Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Emily Grabowski on Tuesday said the service still intends to follow through with a JSTARS recap program, but will keep other options on the table in any event the fiscal 2019 budget doesn’t support a brand-new program.
“The Air Force remains in source selection for a follow-on to JSTARS as we continue to evaluate alternative approaches for battlefield command and control that could be more effective in high-threat environments,” Grabowski said in an email to Military.com.
“In the meantime, we plan to continue to continue flying the current JSTARS fleet through fiscal year 2023. Although we are exploring options, there are many steps still to be taken before any force …read more
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