Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A $325 million U.S. Air Force contract to support E-8C surveillance planes in the Joint STARS program was announced on Wednesday by Northrop Grumman.
The contract executes the Total System Support Responsibility program for the fleet of 16 planes in the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS.
The E-8C planes are modified from the Boeing707-300 series commercial airliner, and carry a variety of specialized radar, communications, operations and control subsystems.
The contract includes program management, engineering technical support, aircrew and maintenance training, supply chain and spares management, technical data and publications, program depot maintenance and overall customer support, Northrop Grumman said in a press release.
The planes are elements of the 116th and 461st Air Control Wings at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., and in overseas forward operating locations.
The JSTARS program, developed by the U.S. Air Force and Army, has been in place since 1996, providing surveillance and target acquisition radar, and serving as an airborne command and control center.
It was announced in 2019 that a replacement for the system, the Advanced Battle Management System family of platforms, is underdevelopment, but members of the U.S. Congress have shown reluctance to retire JSTARS.