A Georgia Air National Guard E-8C JSTARS crew provided ground targeting information to F-16s and Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters during the multi-state, joint Army and air Guard Exercise Carolina Thunder. “The incorporation of JSTARS is huge,” said South Carolina Army National Guard intelligence officer Capt. Michelle Roberts in a release. “JSTARS provides the overall common operation picture from air-to-ground, and we can use that,” she added. In addition to the Georgia ANG’s 116th Air Control Wing’s JSTARS, South Carolina ANG F-16s practiced suppressing enemy air defenses to pave the way for the Army attack helicopters, during the three-day exercise, Nov. 14-16. “We then provided close air support to troops on the ground and non-traditional ISR,” South Carolina ANG 169th Fighter Wing air operations planner Maj. Ryan Corrigan said in a release. A Tennessee ANG KC-135 tanker supported the air component, and some 650 personnel participated at McEntire JNGB, S.C., and the nearby Savannah River Site training area.
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.