U.S. Air Force prioritises investment in JSTARS programme
The U.S. Air Force is now courting enthusiastic interest from the world’s leading aerospace firms, having allocated $70 million in the FY 2015 budget request for a next-generation replacement to the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). Current plans are to bring the new surveillance aircraft into operation by 2022. At present, the JSTARS fleet is comprised of 16 E-8C aircraft (11 operational) based on a modified Boeing 707-300 airframe, each equipped with long-range synthetic aperture radars and a Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) that can find, track and identify ground targets at a distance of up to 124 miles. The current capability is still considered to be operating to a high standard, but as the platform is simply ageing, a swap-out is needed that improves and capitalises on the existing technology without trying to reinvent the wheel. In response to the requirement, Boeing announced in September that it will be pitching a variant of its 737-700
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