Moving Forward with JSTARS Recap

The Air Force on Dec. 28 released the final request for proposals to industry for the JSTARS recapitalization program. The RFP “includes all aspects of the system, including the airframe, radar, communication systems, and battle management command and control suite,” according to an Air Force release. The service intends to award a contract in Fiscal 2018 for three engineering and manufacturing development JSTARS Recap weapon systems for testing, with options for low-rate initial production of two more aircraft and full-rate production of four aircraft each in Lots 1-3, bringing the total fleet to 17 aircraft. The contract also will include options for “ground support, such as training systems, mission planning and processing systems, system integration labs, support equipment, and spares,” states the release. Initial operational capability for the JSTARS Recap is slated for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2024. Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin recently completed an 11-month pre-EMD phase, helping to assess the “maturity of subsystem technology” and reduce the risk of weapon system integration. The Air Force released a memorandum to industry and a draft RFP in September 2016—the same week the current E-8 JSTARS fleet, which is made up of 16 Boeing 707s dating to the 1960s, reached one million flight hours. (See also: A Holistic Approach to JSTARS Recapitalization.)