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Joint STARS wins award

By Roy Heitman
ESC Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (Sept.12, 1997) -- The Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Joint Test Force team has been named winner of the Air Force Test and Evaluation Award for 1996.

The award is to be presented to the JTF director, Col. Scott E. Parks, at the Air Force Association convention in Washington, Sept. 15.

Based at Melbourne, Fla., the Joint Test Force was cited for its performance during calendar year 1996, when two prototype E-8 deployed in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, the Bosnia peacekeeping mission.

"The team completed Multi-Service Operation Test and Evaluation during the deployment, the first time a major weapon system conducted such an evaluation while supporting a real-world contingency mission," Parks said. "This was the ultimate operational demonstration."

The Joint Test Force also provided support to the stand-up of the 93rd Air Control Wing, the system’s operational user, and developed infrastructure to support multiple customers – both in and out of the program – which allows efficient use of limited Joint STARS test assets.

The year began with the deployment of an E-8A and E-8C test aircraft to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany. The Joint Test Force deployed the planes, support equipment and more than 400 Army, Air Force and contractor people within 10 days of being notified. Included in the 100 tons of equipment were 13 Army ground station modules.

Operational missions began 22 days after the unit was directed to deploy.

"We supported every operational mission tasked during the deployment and flew 100 sorties in 102 days," said Parks, who was operations director for the provisional squadron.

Following the deployment, the Joint Test Force provided support to the stand-up of the 93rd Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Ga. Late in 1996, the Joint STARS test force provided technical support for the new wing during their first operational deployment, again to Rhein-Main.

In August 1996, the system was approved by the Defense Acquisition Board for full-rate production.

"This system puts a brand-new capability in information superiority into the warfighter’s hands," Parks said. "I’m proud that the JTF has been a vital cog in everything from aircraft, to training, to technical orders, ground support systems and supporting the 93rd Air Control Wing’s first operational deployment.

In addition, we have a road map in place to explore Joint STARS’ contributions to theater missile defense, automatic target recognition, combat identification, real-time information to the cockpit and computerized technical orders."

The Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is a long-range, air-to-ground surveillance and battle management system. The joint Army-Air Force program is capable of looking deep behind hostile borders to detect and track ground movements in both forward and rear areas. It has a range of more than 120 miles.

The system is comprised of an airborne platform, a radar sensor with supporting subsystems and a ground station module that receives, in real time, the radar data processed in the aircraft.

The Joint System Program Director is Col. Robert H. Latiff.

For more information, contact Roy Heitman via email- [email protected] or call at ESC's Office of Public Affairs - (617) 377-4466

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