The US Air Force’s (USAF) Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) Recapitalization programme has entered into the materiel solution analysis phase, following the signing of a key acquisition memo.
The materiel development decision (MDD) acquisition memo was signed by the US Department of Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Under secretary Frank Kendall. It allows JSTARS Recap programme office to start awarding contracts.
With this development, up to three firm, fixed-price contracts can be awarded in conjunction with pre-engineering and manufacturing development risk reduction.
JSTARS Recap acting senior materiel leader colonel Mike Harm said: "This activity is a significant move toward assessing subsystem technology maturity, reducing weapon system engineering, reducing risk and lowering life cycle cost by design."
This programme is aimed to replace the aging fleet of E-8C reconnaissance aircraft, which has been in service for more than 13 years and recorded more in excess of 100,000 combat flight hours.
The new JSTARS weapon system will feature a business-class, commercial-derivative aircraft, radar subsystem, a communication subsystem and an integrated battle management command and control suite.
In November 2014, Northrop Grumman secured a contract worth $210m to continue sustainment of the USAF E-8C Joint STARS fleet. The initial contract was awarded in 2000.
The firm was responsible for the logistics, engineering, training, mission support, supply chain and depot maintenance support of the Joint STARS fleet at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
Image: The E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System fleet has reached a milestone of 100,000 flying hours. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi.