E-8C Joint Stars
Scale: 1/100 scale model
Wing Span: 17.09 inches
Length: 13.25 inches
The Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is a United States Air Force airborne ground surveillance, battle management and command and control aircraft. It tracks ground vehicles and some aircraft, collects imagery, and relays tactical pictures to ground and air theater commanders. The aircraft is operated by both active duty Air Force and Air National Guard units and also carries specially trained U.S. Army personnel as additional flight crew.
Joint STARS evolved from separate United States Army and Air Force programs to develop technology to detect, locate and attack enemy armor at ranges beyond the forward area of troops. In 1982, the programs were merged and the U.S. Air Force became the lead agent. The concept and sensor technology for the E-8 was developed and tested on the Tacit Blue experimental aircraft. The prime contract was awarded to Grumman Aerospace Corporation in September 1985 for two E-8A development systems.
In late 2005, Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract for upgrading engines and other systems. Pratt & Whitney, in a joint venture with Seven Q Seven (SQS), will produce and deliver JT8D-219 engines for the E-8s. Their greater efficiency will allow the Joint STARS to spend more time on station, take off from a wider range of runways, climb faster, fly higher all with a much reduced cost per flying hour.
In December 2008, an E-8C test aircraft took its first flight with the new engines. In 2009, the company began engine replacement and additional upgrade efforts. However, the re-engining funding was temporarily halted in 2009 as the Air Force began to consider other options for performing the JSTARS mission.2]