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C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

US warfighters begin receiving upgraded JTAGS system

22 May 2018
Northrop Grumman and the US Army have deployed the first of four planned enhancements of the JTAGS capability, which uses data from satellite sensors to provide in-theatre missile warning. Source: Northrop Grumman

The US Army and Northrop Grumman have deployed the first improved Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) that modifies its in-theatre missile warning capability.

Northrop Grumman announced on 22 May it had modified the JTAGS shelter and is providing more displays to improve battlespace awareness for the operators. Phase 2 of the pre-planned product improvement (P3I) programme will upgrade the hardware and software.

JTAGS receives and processes data directly downlinked from the US Air Force-operated Defense Support Program satellites, the Space Based Infrared System, and other infrared satellite sensors. JTAGS has access to various communications networks including Link 16, the Common Message Format, and TAB 37 Variable Message Format.

The initial upgraded system will be based in Japan and is the first of two planned for the US Pacific Command area of responsibility. Systems will also be delivered to US Central Command and US European Command.

JTAGS is operated by US Army personnel.

“We are actually in the process of delivering all of our OCONUS [Outside Continental United States] systems. The next one is tentatively scheduled for June and then likely the last two will happen in 2019,” Hoda Phillips, JTAGS programme manager for Northrop Grumman, told Jane’s . The system was first fielded in 1997.

Phase 1 upgrades to the system, which Northrop Grumman has been developing, maintaining, and enhancing since 1994, included modifying its mobile shelter to a fixed site. The upgrade provided more room for the army operators and separated them from the hardware, which has to operate in a cooled environment. “In the previous JTAGS they were all together, and we had to keep the shelter very cold,” Phillips said.

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