Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom AFB, Mass., has added a system called Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below to the repertoire of the E-8 Joint STARS to enable the ground surveillance aircraft to “see” friend vs. foe. The Army uses the system to get updates on the location of friendly troops in near real time by continuously transmitting actual locations over the network, and then sends progress reports to a tactical operations center. Five Joint STARS aircraft now have laptop computers that will receive regular updates from the FBCB2 system. Using special software, the laptops will send the data to the E-8 mission operator consoles. ESC plans to outfit the remainder of the fleet, starting this spring.
More than two dozen U.S. Air Force fighters and tankers—including F-35s for the first time—are participating in what U.S. Air Forces in Europe calls the “premier” Nordic aerial exercise over the next two weeks.