After a failed attempt in the last decade, the Air Force has restarted efforts to develop a successor to its E-8C JSTARS radar planes. The 16 JSTARS planes provide vital intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance of moving and stationary ground targets, enabling warfighters in all the services to use their weapons for maximum effect while avoiding attacks on friendly forces. But the average age of E-8Cs in the fleet is approaching 50 years, and the Air Force has not been able to afford upgrades to equipment or engines. Its tentative plan is to acquire a high-end business jet to host the JSTARS successor, either a Gulfstream or the 737-based Boeing Business Jet. A key discriminator in determining what design it selects could be battle management/command & control capabilities, which permit JSTARS to coordinate all the elements in a military operation. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: