The Senate Armed Services Committee would like the Air Force to go ahead and re-engine the E-8C JSTARS ground-surveillance fleet despite some cost increases and the possibility that the Air Force may seek to phase out the fleet before the end of the decade. The Air Force has delayed putting new engines on all 17 E-8Cs until it completes a study of future options for executing the ground moving target indication mission. “Regardless of what that study concludes. . . the committee believes that re-engining the JSTARS fleet makes sense,” states the SASC report accompanying the draft version of the Senate’s defense authorization bill for Fiscal 2012. It continues, “[E]ven if the Air Force study were to conclude that some new system or combination of systems would provide better broad-area GMTI for the future, it is hard to imagine that another alternative would actually [be fielded] before the re-engining pays for itself.” (SASC report; caution, large-sized file.)
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.