Carlisle Provides JSTARS and JASSM-ER Update

Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle gave a quick status update on two “joint” programs: the E-8C JSTARS radar aircraft replacement program and the extended range variant of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. “I think industry is doing really well with JSTARS recap,” Carlisle told reporters after an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast speech in Arlington, Va., on June 1. However, he said he wished the program was moving faster because “speed-to-ramp is incredibly important to us.” The Air Force has moved to cut the size of the existing JSTARS fleet, using the savings to pay for a replacement aircraft, and it wants the first examples ready for duty circa 2023. “We’re working hard to get [the DOD acquisition system] more reactive” to the JSTARS recap needs, he said. The service wants an airplane that offers “basically, current capabilities on a sustainable platform, that has … growth potential,” with spiral improvements in the future, at a technology readiness level of six. As for the JASSM-ER, Carlisle said, “We’re down to very few CALCMs,” or AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missiles, and he believes that after the extended range model “comes online and we finish testing” USAF will get approval from Congress to buy “an appropriate number” to replace the CALCM. “I think we’ve got it worked out,” he said. (See also JSTARS Recap from the February 2015 issue of Air Force Magazine.)