Air Combat Command News

Joint STARS returns from first deployment

Released: Jan 24, 1997

By 2nd Lt. Heather Meissner
93rd Air Control Wing

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Members of the Air Force's newest wing finished their first operational deployment to Operation Joint Endeavor.

Celebrating their unit's first birthday Jan. 29, crews from the 93rd Air Control Wing and two E-8C Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System aircraft came home from Bosnia Jan. 4

The primary mission of this deployment was to monitor the command and control of the Bosnia-Herzegovina region as NATO troops transitioned from the Implementation Force to a smaller Stabilization Force.

"We exceeded, by a wide margin, our initial mission," said Col. Ben Robinson, 93rd ACW commander. "We exposed 40 percent of the wing to deployed operations, trained over 40 aircrew members and reduced our deployed footprint (personnel) by 12 percent; there wasn't an area that we weren't successful in."

Aircrews achieved more than 90 percent of the target areas they were tasked to cover and took part in eight exercises with six nations. In addition to integrating information from the commanding organization to field operators, crews also developed an innovative approach, a banana-shaped orbit, to use their radar over mountainous terrain.

"I can't over-emphasize the success of this deployment," said Robinson. "For the first deployment with a brand new airplane, for the first deployment with the newest wing in the Air Force, meeting every one of our objectives, plus more -- that is just outstanding."

Joint STARS was developed for ground surveillance, targeting and battle management. The aircraft operates a side-looking radar to get data on stationary objects as well as locating and tracking moving targets without flying directly overhead.

As part of its operational test and evaluation, the E-8C test aircraft and crews flew more than 150 missions during operations Desert Shield and Storm, and Joint Endeavor.