May 18 (UPI) -- Boeing is proposing a modified version of its 737 commercial jet liner for the recapitalization of the U.S. Air Force's Joint Surveillance Target Radar aircraft.
Jamie Burgess, Vice-President and Program Manager for Boeing Military Aircraft Mobility Surveillance and Engagement division
"The size of the 737 is about right for a [command and control] C2 mission crew that would be spending upwards of 12 hours on an aircraft. It also offers tremendous growth potential in terms of power, size, weight, cooling, and aircraft performance." said Jamie Burgess, Vice-President and Program Manager for Boeing Military Aircraft Mobility Surveillance and Engagement division, told IHS Janes. "We think the 737-700 is the right solution for the air force's [C2 and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] C2ISR recapitalization."
The current fleet of 16 Air Force Northrop Grumman E-8C JSTARS dates back to the early 1990's. The E-8C is based off the 707 airframe, which suffers from high operating costs at as much as $200,000 an hour. There is also a lack of spare parts and airframes available. Multiple companies are bidding for the program.
The JSTARS features a radar system that can cover a theater-sized battlefield region. It is meant to provide ground and area commanders with long-range ground surveillance.