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E-8C Joint STARS  
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1996
Total Production: 17
Unitary Cost: USD$244 million
Also Known As: JSTARS
Origin: United States of America
Corporations: Northrop Grumman
Parent System: E-8C Joint STARS
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1996
Total Production: 17
Total Cost: USD$3.9 billion
Reviews   Average 7.3
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  Maneuverability 5.0
  Payload 9.0
  Performance 9.0
  Range 7.0
  Speed 8.0
  Survivability 6.0
Description: The E-8C Joint STARS (Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) is an airborne battle management and control platform that conducts ground surveillance to determine enemy location helping other platforms to engage them. The US Air Force E-8C fleet is expected to remain in active service at least until 2025.

The E-8C is a modified Boeing 707-300C commercial airplane through the addition of a radar, communications, operations, and control subsystems. Externally a 12 meters long canoe-shaped radome under the forward fuselage houses the 7.3 meters long side-looking phased array antenna. It is powered by four Pratt & Whitney TF33-PW-102 engines (JT3D).

The E-8C can fly a mission profile for 9 hours without refueling, with refueling E-8C endurance can be extended dramatically (20 hours). Information about enemy and friendly ground forces is relayed in near-real time to the Army's common ground station or other centers via jam-resistant ultra high frequency satellite communications. E-8C's advanced radar can provide wide area surveillance, moving target indicator, fixed target indicator, target classification and synthetic aperture radar.

The E-8C radar antenna features a 120-degree field of view below the aircraft covering 19,305 square miles (50,000 square kilometers) and detecting ground vehicles at 250 km. The E-8C has some limitations to detect helicopters, rotating antennas, and low-slow flying aircraft.

The E-8C Joint STARS aircraft was deployed in 1991 in the Gulf War. In 1991 the E-8C were still under development but performed successfully tracking ground moving Iraqi forces. They were also deployed in support of operations over the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan (Enduring Freedom) and most recently Iraq (Iraqi Freedom).

In June 2004, Northrop-Grumman was awarded a contract to upgrade the weather radar system on the US Air Force E-8C fleet, currently consisting of 16 airplanes, plus two upgraded radar systems for a test bed aircraft and a flight trainer aircraft. The 17th E-8C aircraft scheduled for delivery to the US Air Force in early 2005 will carry the new weather radar system.

Northrop-Grumman expects to complete the upgrade work by March 2005. The upgraded radar system will provide more reliable weather conditions information along E-8C's flight route. The 17th and final production E-8C was delivered to the US Air Force on March 23, 2005. These aircraft are assigned to the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

In early May 2005, the US Air Force's E-8C JSTARS fleet had logged more than 10,000 combat hours since first deployment during the Gulf War in 1991. In August 2005, Northrop-Grumman completed the Block 20 integration on the whole US Air Force E-8C aircraft fleet allowing for hardware and software upgrades at lower costs.

In late November 2005 the US Air Force awarded Northrop-Grumman a $532 million contract for E-8C J-STARS system improvement program which funded design, development, integration and test of improvements to the E-8C fleet.

In January 2006 the US Air Force that was installed successfully the FBCB2 hardware/software system on an E-8C aircraft providing combat identification which is a critical capability to determine the position of friendly troops. FBCB2 installation was done in less than 90 days with a cost under $5.7 million for the first five installations. All the E-8C fleet was expected to be retrofitted with the FBCB2 package by September 2006.

In January 2007, the US Air Force and Northrop-Grumman selected the Pratt & Whitney and Seven Q Seven (SQS) Propulsion Pod System (PPS) based on the JT8D-219 model as the engine replacement for the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft fleet. JT8D-219 will replace the TF33-PW-102 engine providing more than 20 percent improvement in fuel burn over its predecessor according to P&W.

E-8C Joint STARS Specifications

Crew: 34
Number of Engines: 4
Height: 13 meter (43 foot)
Length: 47 meter (153 foot)
Wingspan: 44 meter (146 foot)
Ceiling: 12,802 meter (42,001 foot)
Cruise Speed: 173 mps (623 kph)
Top Speed at High Altitude: 279 mps (543 KTAS)
Flight Endurance: 9 hour (0.38 day)
Max Takeoff Thrust: 84,000 pound (38,102 kilogram)
Max Takeoff Weight: 152 ton (336,001 pound)
CEP: Circular Error Probable
Meters (m)   Kilometers (km)   Nautic Miles (nm)   Inch (in)   Yard (yd)   Foot (ft)   Millimeter (mm)
Pound (lb)   Kilogram (kg)   kN (KiloNewton)   Ton (t)
Meters per Second (mps)   Kilometers per Hour (kph)   Knot (kt)   Miles per Hour (mph)
Liter (l)   Galon (gl)
Year (yr)   Minutes (min)   Second (sec)
Shaft-Horse-Power (shp)

E-8C Joint STARS News

There are 25 news between
3 Aug 2004 and 20 Feb 2018
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018US Air Force to Rely More On Small Unmanned Aircraft Than Satellites and Spy Planes
Wednesday, March 6, 2013US Air Force Joint STARS and Global Hawk Demonstrate Interoperability
Tuesday, May 22, 2012Joint STARS Completes Flight Testing of JT-8D Engines
Friday, February 3, 2012US Air Force Announces Proposed Force Structure Changes
Thursday, December 15, 2011US Air Force Awards Northrop Grumman $540 Million Joint STARS Support Contract
Wednesday, December 14, 2011E-8C Joint STARS Takes to the Sky with JT8D-219 Production Engines
Monday, March 14, 2011Joint STARS Demonstrates Multispectral Intelligence Sensor Integrated Into New Keel Beam Accessory Bay
Friday, March 4, 2011Pratt & Whitney Delivers first New E-8C J-STARS' JT8D-219 Production Engine
Tuesday, March 2, 2010E-8C Joint STARS Awarded Production Contract for New JT8D-219 Engines
Monday, February 15, 2010Joint Standoff Weapon C-1 Proves Networked Capability with JSTARS Aircraft

Operators & Related Equipment

United States of America17
Jul 201515

Grand Total 171
Propulsion Systems
Protection Systems
Sensor Systems
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