The Air Force has awarded an “up-to” $532 million contract to Northrop Grumman to make improvements to the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft. The work will include enhancements to communications, navigation, surveillance, air traffic management, mobile target tracking—much in demand by ground forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom—joint tactical radio systems, advanced radar systems, and airborne networking. USAF can expend the entire amount, but officials believe the actual work will come in under the top dollar. It’s to be completed by December 2011.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.