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JSTARS shaping up to be battle of aircraft, not providers

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posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 02:35 PM
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The more the JSTARS replacement competition moves forward, the more interesting it gets. The battle is shaping up to be one of aircraft platforms, and not who is providing the radar and integration of the systems. Boeing is currently considered the underdog with the 737BBJ, which is by far the largest of the three platforms, although according to them, that allows for crew comfort and future expansion of the mission.

Gulfstream has a slight advantage, in that the Air Force currently flies a number of versions of their aircraft, though mostly for VIP missions. The most likely offering will be the G550, although the 650 is available as well. The performance difference between the two is close enough that it will come down to cabin size. The biggest challenge will be the inflight refueling requirement.

Raytheon is planning to offer their Skynet radar system to all competitors, although Northrop is teaming with L-3 Aerospace Systems, who will convert the aircraft into the JSTARS platform.


The US Air Force’s $6 billion programme to replace the Boeing 707-based Northrop Grumman E-8C “JSTARS” is shaping up as a battle between platform providers rather than the primes, with Boeing, Bombardier and Gulfstream locked in a three-way contest for the 17-aircraft order.

The prime motivation for radar-carrying aircraft competition is to drastically cut the operating and maintenance cost of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) by migrating to a modern “business jet” – specifically an aircraft with 80% less fuel consumption than the 707-300 and a 12-person crew, down from 21.

The E-8 made its combat debut in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and has provided critical capability in every major US combat operation since – using its 7.3m (24ft) side-looking phased array radar to detect enemy ground and maritime movements and low-flying aircraft over a 50,000km2 area. Its onboard battle management specialists harness that information to alert friendly ground forces and coordinate counterattacks or air strikes.

www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 02:44 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

What?! Not a Drone?!



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 02:46 PM
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a reply to: anzha

God that's all they'd need. It's bad enough now trying to get information to the warfighter. With a UAV (they're not drones dammit!), the data would have to go from the UAV, to somewhere else, them read the data, and then transmit it again to the warfighter.



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:04 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Exactly how did this provide critical combat capability in Afghanistan? Comm relay? Pretty expensive platform for that.



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:05 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

But isn't that why they put the Predator video in the clear? So it goes straight to the warfighter?



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:14 PM
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a reply to: StanFL

JSTARS is capable of tracking groups of people walking on the ground from several hundred miles away with the current radar system it has. It was designed to track vehicles, and movement on the ground. The new system will have a much more advanced radar, and will give a much more detailed image than the current one.



That's what the radar sees, overlaid on an image of the area. All of those dots are vehicles tracked by the E-8.
edit on 9/3/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:15 PM
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a reply to: anzha

And we saw how well that worked, with anyone being able to grab the video.



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:56 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I missed the part about singling out insurgents from civilians. I guess if insurgents massed in company squares, this would be very helpful. Does vendor sales literature point to any successes?



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 03:57 PM
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a reply to: StanFL

You think they're not going to mass somewhere before an attack? They're just going to randomly show up to attack an airbase or forward operating base? Some of those bases aren't anywhere near a village or town. Especially in the early days of the war, JSTARS was invaluable.
edit on 9/3/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2015 @ 04:32 PM
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Northrop has publicly called for the Air Force to speed the process up. They said it shouldn't take 16 years to deliver the final product, and want the Air Force to go faster.


Northrop Grumman says it shouldn’t take 16 years for the US Air Force’s to recapitalise the Boeing 707-based E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, and it doesn’t need an 11-month “risk-reduction” phase to get started.

The air force recently awarded $10 million contracts to Northrop, Boeing and Lockheed Martin to mature their competing next-generation JSTARS designs, but Northrop believes it already has an “85% solution” and is ready to proceed to development. If fact, the product is known internally as the "E-8D" since it uses mature technology and is considered more of an evolutionary capability advancement.

Northrop vice president and “JSTARS recap” programme lead Alan Metzger says the company is itching to go faster, and the limiting factor is funding and how fast the air force can go.

www.flightglobal.com...



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The JSTARS replacement was NOT approved for moving onto the next stage of acquisition.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 04:48 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Sales pitch: "it's like Google Traffic, with 'click to remove traffic here' functionality."

Congressman: "Sold! Gimme 20! And can I have a terminal for the Beltway region?"
edit on 29-9-2015 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 04:48 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: Zaphod58

The JSTARS replacement was NOT approved for moving onto the next stage of acquisition.


The bribes weren't big enough, eh?



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 06:14 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I can see why. The AF didn't define the requirements well enough. When you have that big of a difference in platforms there's something not right.

They're slowly rolling out a new procurement process that will include lessons learned from the bomber, and cut way down on lag from selection to IOC.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 06:52 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

It seems the sweet spot in terms of expansion capacity/range vs overall size/cost would be one of the large new-construction regional jets.

To that end, I'm really surprised that Bombardier didn't come at this competition with a Cseries-based offering (especially given the cseries' slow sales as of late, JSTARS would move airframes and help recoup those tooling costs), but I'd love to see the other non-boeing competitors partnering with Mitsubishi/the MRJ or even Embraer in order to find that middle ground between the "too big" E-8 and P-8 and the "too small" bizjets.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 07:16 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

I would love to see an MRJ based platform. That's a neat airplane. I'm looking forward to them arriving in the US for testing.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 08:22 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Me too.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I tend to fly a bunch, and Jetblue's E190's are just about my favorite plane to fly in. I can't wait to see who ends up operating the MRJ's in the US (and I can't wait until Porter is flying the Cseries into Billy Bishop, I figure that's the closest thing I'll ever experience to a carrier landing :cool



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 10:29 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

There are a number of airlines with them on order, but they have contractual issues with the size of them.



posted on Oct, 6 2015 @ 03:30 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

JSTARS recap is being threatened by air force budget woes.



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