New planes for Joint-STARS radar surveillance killed in DOD budget

The proposed national defense budget would kill plans to buy new planes for Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or J-STARS.

May 8th, 2018

The proposed national defense budget would kill plans to buy new planes for Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or J-STARS. The Joint-STARS recapitalization program had called for buying 17 new planes at an estimated cost of $7 billion. The Air Force has already spent $265 million on the program, with another $400 million planned for this year. The move to cut the J-STARS recap is not a surprise. Word leaked out last year that Air Force leaders were reconsidering. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has publicly questioned whether J-STARS is the best way to fulfill the mission of battlefield surveillance, particularly in a future conflict against a foe that can shoot down aircraft. Joint-STARS, in an early prototype version, gained international fame in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War when its wide-area surveillance radar detected retreating Iraqi columns, which enabled widespread U.S. air strikes on the retreating forces.

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