|Electronic Systems Center Delivers Updated Joint STARS |
Electronic Systems Center Delivers Updated Joint STARS
Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts -- (AFPN) August 6, 2001 -- The Electronic Systems Center here delivered the first updated Block 20 E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System production aircraft, better known as Joint STARS, to the 93rd Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Aug. 6.
"We're particularly excited about this delivery because we know we've taken a system that has proven itself time and again and made it even better," said Col. Gary Connor, director of the Joint STARS Joint Program Office.
Perhaps the most significant enhancement in the Block 20 aircraft is the computer replacement program, or CRP, said Capt. Brad Turpen, deputy of the program office's Operations and Control Team.
The CRP has reduced the number of on-board main computers from five to two while increasing processing power and speed, he said.
"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. The entire computing infrastructure on the Block 20 plane is commercial-off-the-shelf technology.
The CRP also offers a fiber optic local area network that provides greater bandwidth, speed and reliability, Turpen said.
This plane is also being delivered with a set of engineering improvements intended to reduce maintenance requirements and design changes that respond to user concerns, according to Senior Master Sergeant Joseph Casino, chief of E-8C maintenance for the program office.
Examples include installation of a tougher, more abrasion-resistant gasket material designed to reduce chafing on wire bundles, and a new fuel door designed to open from the bottom up, rather than the top down, so that it stays closed even if it comes loose.
Eventually all the existing Block 10 aircraft will be upgraded to Block 20. The first Block 10 plane is scheduled to be brought in for upgrading in November and is expected to roll out in February or March 2002, Turpen said.
The Joint STARS planes are refurbished Boeing 707s. Workers complete the transformation by installing the 24-foot Joint STARS radar, the powerful computer systems and other equipment.
The finished product is the world's most advanced airborne surveillance and target acquisition system. It provides real-time, accurate information about vehicles on the ground and slow-moving aircraft for peacekeeping missions and decision-making on the battlefield.