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C4iSR: Air

JSTARS modifications under new contract include new liquid oxygen valve

09 October 2019
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The US Air Force intends to upgrade all 16 of its E-8C JSTARS aircraft with modifications such as a bandwidth-efficient common data link under a September 2019 contract. Source: Northrop Grumman

Key Points

  • The US Air Force will perform a variety of upgrades to its E-8C JSTARS fleet under a September contract award
  • Modifications will range from a new liquid oxygen valve to the bandwidth-efficient common data link

The US Air Force (USAF) plans to make a variety of modifications, including a new liquid oxygen valve, to its fleet of Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft as part of a 27 September contract award.

The sole sourced award to Northrop Grumman, potentially worth USD495 million, covers 16 mission and one trainer aircraft as part of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) arrangement. USAF spokesperson Patty Welsh said on 7 October that many modifications are anticipated under the JSTARS System Improvement Program (JSSIP) IV contract, ranging from replacing the liquid oxygen valve to prime mission equipment modification, such as the bandwidth-efficient common data link, which she said is the US Army's primary communications link. Welsh said all modifications are subject to funding availability.

The intent of the contract is to modify all 16 JSTARS aircraft with each modification, Welsh said. The aircraft modification order is dependent upon the timing of the modification and each aircraft's status at the time, such as deployed, in depot, or identified for training sorties. The 27 September contract award was for replacing the liquid oxygen valve.

The contract award will support the current JSTARS programme office and Air Combat Command (ACC) projections of improvement to increase or maintain E-8C performance, capability, reliability, and maintainability. Work is expected to be completed by 26 September 2024.

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