Joint Stars aircraft getting communications upgrade

 E-8C Joint Stars aircraft of the U.S. Air Force are to receive a radio terminal upgrade from Northrop Grumman, the company announced on Tuesday.

The upgrade involves replacing the surveillance aircraft’s current radio terminals with Air Force Tactical Receive System-Ruggedized, or AFTRS-R, terminals.

The new AFTRS-R provides data feeds from airborne and overhead electronics intelligence collectors and allows Joint STARS to detect and track a host of mobile threats. It also modernizes the Integrated Broadcast Service by replacing the current Commander’s Tactical Terminal/Hybrid-Receive Only.

“One of the benefits of our 32-year partnership with the United States Air Force on Joint STARS is that we have an in-depth understanding of the E-8C fleet and its mission in support of combatant commanders globally,” Bryan Lima, director of manned C2ISR programs at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said in a press release. “The AFTRS-R modification is another demonstration of our joint commitment to fleet sustainment while providing uninterrupted mission support to the warfighter until the recapitalized fleet is fielded.”

Northrop Grumman said the contract is a separate delivery order under the 2013 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract it has for the Joint STARS Systems Improvement Program.