8/7/2007 - MELBOURNE, FL -- Northrop Grumman has
completed a successful operational test flight for the
E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System
(Joint STARS) Attack Support Upgrade (ASU) program.
The flight demonstrated the operational utility of the
new Link-16 Tactical Digital Information Links Command
and Control (C2) functionality for Joint STARS
"The Full Battle Management element of ASU follows
the very successful Air Control/Theater Missile
Defense (AC/TMD) delivery completed early last year
that provided initial command and control capability
to the Joint STARS fleet," said Jon Kruse, Northrop
Grumman ASU engineering manager. "With AC/TMD, Joint
STARS operators could assign a mission, track it
through target destruction, receive an immediate bomb
damage assessment report from the attack aircraft and
then pass the information to other theater command and
control assets. This capability fuses ground
battlefield data into fighter and bomber cockpit
displays, linking the sensor to shooter during ground
battlefield operations. It has really made Joint STARS
a force multiplier in performing its role in C4ISR
This second of two spiral deliveries was the first
time the FBM functionality of ASU was used in an
operational environment with other U.S. Air Force
assets, including E-3 AWACS, B-2 Stealth bomber and
Link-16-equipped command facilities on the ground.
"The Attack Support Upgrade program's Full Battle
Management element is the most far-reaching Link-16
implementation to date within the U.S. Department of
Defense, significantly enhancing Joint STARS C2
capability and making it the premier Link-16-capable
platform in the Defense Department arsenal," said Dave
Nagy, vice president of Northrop Grumman's
Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Programs.
"With FBM, Joint STARS now supports the full set of
command messages to digitally control air assets,"
continued Nagy. "These improvements provide Joint
STARS operators with increased real-time information
on available weapons, airfields and weather, improving
mission assignment development and coordination and
control of available weapons."
The enhancements provide new capabilities for the
Joint STARS system and onboard operators. The E-8C
Link-16 network management capacity provides more
efficient communication transmission routing. The ASU
also provides more rapid exchange of electronic
warfare surveillance and intelligence information,
enhancing time-critical target prosecution that
reduces the kill chain time line.
In addition, the Joint STARS' Attack Support Upgrade
provides full digital for information exchange on
combat search and rescue missions. Finally, Joint
STARS operators will now be able to provide
near-real-time imagery to fighter aircraft of the
targets they are engaging.
Source: Northrop Grumman Press Release