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Northrop Grumman awarded $540 million joint STARS support contract by U.S. Air Force

Posted by Skyler Frink

MELBOURNE, Fla. and WARNER ROBINS, Ga., Dec. 15, 2011. The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) a 30-month, $540 million contract for Total System Support Responsibility (TSSR) of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) fleet. This covers TSSR period 11.5 to 13 which began May 1, 2011 and concludes on Oct. 31, 2013.

The 17-aircraft Joint STARS fleet is an all-weather, long-range, real-time, wide area surveillance and battle management and command and control weapons system. Joint STARS offers battlefield commanders real-time situational information while simultaneously transmitting target locations to aircraft and ground strike forces. Joint STARS combines accurate wide-area moving target detection with synthetic aperture radar imagery to locate, classify and track ground targets in all weather conditions from standoff distances.

Under the TSSR program, Northrop Grumman is partnered with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (ALC) to provide integrated logistics support to the 116th Air Control Wing for all facets of base and depot level maintenance. The ALC and Northrop Grumman use each other's best practices to provide Joint STARS support that is economical and fully meets the needs of warfighters.

The 116th ACW is a combined Georgia Air National Guard and active duty Air Force Wing, with more than 2,500 people assigned to the unit. To date, Joint STARS has accumulated over 72,650 combat hours in 6,750 missions supporting operations, including ongoing support to Operation New Dawn over Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan, and Operation Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector over Libya.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems is the prime contractor for the E-8C Joint STARS. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems' Norden Systems unit in Norwalk, Conn., manufactures the Joint STARS radar sensor.

The first E-8C Joint STARS was delivered to the Air Force on March 4, 1996, and the last fully configured aircraft was delivered on March 22, 2005. On Dec. 20, 2008, the programs' T-3 testbed aircraft flew with new engines for the first time and the company is currently testing additional radar and sensor capabilities on its aircraft in Melbourne, Fla. Northrop Grumman anticipates fielding those capabilities to the entire 17-aircraft fleet over the next several years.

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