An E-8C JSTARS ground-surveillance aircraft, being refuled in flight over Afghanistan. (MSgt William Greer / Air Force photo)
The U.S. Air Force wants to transform its Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System airborne battle command system into an open-source system mounted on business jets.
The JSTARS Recapitalization program is laid out in a request for information by the Air Force by the Air Force Aerial Surveillance Radars Branch, which describes the project as an effort to "reduce the life cycle costs of the weapon system by migrating the Joint STARS SAR/GMTI [synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator] Mission Area on to a more efficient air frame (business jet class). The recapitalization will utilize Open Systems Architecture enabling new capabilities to be integrated quicker, and more efficiently, and will promote future competition."
The reborn JSTARS will include four main components: the airborne platform, a sensor subsystem, a Battle Management Command and Control subsystem, and a communications subsystem. The current request for information in FedBizOpps addresses only the BMC2 component.
The new JSTARS should have the same capabilities as the existing system, but with lower operating costs. Commercial-off-the-shelf equipment will be accepted. The Air Force hopes to achieve initial operational capability for the JSTARS Recapitalization by 2022.