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Northrop Grumman to compete for RoKAF's ISTAR requirement

In partnership with LIG Nex1 and Huneed, Northrop Grumman announced on 19 October that it is working on a JSTAR-K solution (a concept of which is shown in the image) to meet the RoKAF's ISTAR requirement. ( Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman announced on 19 October that it has signed a series of memoranda of understanding with South Korean companies LIG Nex1 and Huneed to develop a ‘Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System – Korea (JSTARS-K)' solution to meet a Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) requirement for an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR)-capable aerial system.

The company said in a statement that the JSTARS-K solution, which will be based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet, will leverage Northrop's experience in the battle management command-and-control (BMC2) domain to deliver a new “low risk airborne BMC2 capability”.

While the US firm is set to act as prime systems integrator, local companies will ensure interoperability with other platforms and systems in service with the RoKAF, it added.

Production of the G550 ended in 2020, which is why Janes believes that the baseline airframe could be a second-hand aircraft or a similar model, such as the G500 or G600.

The announcement comes about a year after Raytheon Technologies revealed that it was partnering with Korean Air and Bombardier to propose its ISTAR-K business jet-based multiple-intelligence (multi-int) surveillance aircraft for the same programme.

The Raytheon solution will be based on a modified Bombardier Global 6500 business jet, with Korean Air set to provide its expertise in terms of design, maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrades, the company said at the time.

Besides an integrated ISR mission suite, Raytheon said BMC2 would be integrated throughout the aircraft to enable interoperable communications with South Korean allies and partners.

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