JSTARS upgrade delivered

The Air Force announced Aug. 6 that it has delivered the first Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System improved through the JSTARS Computer Replacement Program.

The JSTARS, a joint Army/Air Force program, is a long-range, air-to-ground surveillance system designed to locate, classify and track ground targets in all weather conditions. The Computer Replacement Program calls for replacing and upgrading JSTARS servers, workstations, selected portions of the radar signal processor, the local-area network and other peripheral equipment.

The system can enable personnel flying in friendly airspace to look deep behind hostile borders to track ground movements. It has a range of more than 150 miles.

JSTARS consists of an Air Force E-8C aircraft — a remanufactured Boeing 707 — an Army ground station and a data link connecting the two. The newest version of the refurbished Boeing 707 is the Block 20 E-8C.

Through the Computer Replacement Program, the Air Force's Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., has reduced the number of main computers from five to two while increasing processing speed and power, Capt. Brad Turpen, deputy of the JSTARS program office's operations and control team, said in a statement.

"It's also important to note that it's all based on an open architecture that allows new capabilities to be added much more quickly and easily," Turpen said, adding that the entire computing infrastructure uses commercial off-the-shelf technology.

The plane was delivered to the 93rd Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.

The replacement program also offers a fiber-optic local-area network that provides greater bandwidth, speed and reliability. In addition, the plane has a newly developed single baseline that allows the ground support system, which is used for training, to have the same system environment as the aircraft.

In a separate statement also released Aug. 6, Compaq Computer Corp. announced that the new plane uses 20 Compaq AlphaServer ES40CV systems running the OpenVMS operating system. The systems "provide accurate, real-time data and analysis about vehicles on the ground and slow-moving aircraft for peacekeeping missions and decision-making on the battlefield," the company's announcement stated.

The plane is scheduled for delivery Aug. 31, which would make this the seventh consecutive JSTARS delivery ahead of schedule.

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