ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft flew over the Bosnian theater June 12 to participate in a four-hour exercise with fighter aircraft before landing in France for the week-long Paris Air Show.
"By combining this airshow with the exercise, it allows us to get the most value for our buck," said Col. Bob Cripe, 93rd Operations Group deputy commander.
F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, used Joint STARS positioning data to verify targets before dropping simulated bombs.
Members of the 93rd Air Control Wing transmitted electronic information of the battlefield to the F-16s that were equipped with a reconstructed laptop computer, known as a hand-held terminal unit.
The HTU is the newest gadget in the Joint STARS inventory. It reduces voice communication, which may be less reliable.
F-15s received information over a rapid targeting system that displays photographic radar imagery plus target coordinates.
"We have information to pass, and for the first time in our Joint STARS history, we're passing it to airborne assets and they're using it to build a better picture to drop bombs on target," said Maj. John Cote, 93rd Operations Support Squadron chief of contingency plans.
Cote and other operators from the 93rd ACW watched the exercise unfold
from the Joint STARS complex here. A computer workstation, the Deployable
Ground Support System, allows operators at Robins to see the same view
of battlefield as the Joint STARS aircrew via satellite transmission.