The U.S. Air Force is developing a capabilities design document for the service’s future joint surveillance target attack radar system aircraft, DoD Buzz reported Friday.
Kris Osborn writes the branch set aside $70 million for the JSTARS program in its budget request for fiscal 2015 and aims to deploy a new variant by 2022.
“The initial intent is to get a replacement out quickly and have the ability to spiral in better capability later on,” said Col. Henry Cyr, commander of the 461st Air Control Wing, according to DoD Buzz.
The branch’s existing E-8C surveillance jets are built by Northrop Grumman and based on the Boeing 707 four-engine aircraft model.
Cyr noted the current JSTARS fleet also employs synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator systems as well as designed for battle management, command and control, and ISR activities.
DoD Buzz reports the Air Force wants an E-8C variant that can be fitted with newer electronics as they emerge and has business jet-like airframe.
Northrop, Boeing, Bombardier and Gulfstream are among the aerospace companies pursuing the JSTARS replacement program, according to Osborn’s article.