Military Embedded Systems

JSTARS Recap program includes upgrades to AESA radars


January 28, 2016

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

JSTARS Recap program includes upgrades to AESA radars

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. The U.S. Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) is in the middle of its recapitalization program, which includes upgrading from its current radar system to the active electronically scanned array, (AESA) radar.

The use of an AESA radar will allow the JSTARS Recapitalization program to meet mission performance standards while operating on a smaller business-class jet airframe, Air Force officials say.

JSTARS has the ability to provide wide-area surveillance from standoff ranges and the radar plays a part in that role, says Brian Carr, JSTARS Recapitalization Radar deputy IPT lead.

The existing system is composed with sensors, antennas, and a 27-foot radome. The radar's Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) enables the system's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission.

JSTARS radar was state-of-the-art when it was developed and introduced in 1991. The recapitalization program will everage the technological advancements that have lowered the cost and enabled the use of active electronically scanned array, or AESA, radars, says Carr.

The JSTARS platform is also focusing on an open systems architecture approach with many of its components. With this move, the Air Force hopes to sustain a competitive environment for future hardware and software upgrades, officials say.

The program reached a Milestone A decision on December 10, 2015. This will allow program officials to exercise an estimated $45 million in options on three pre-engineering, manufacturing, and development contracts, which cover system functional reviews, preliminary design reviews, and subsystem prototype demonstrations.

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