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Final Joint STARS aircraft delivered

3/30/2005 - SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- Officials from the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., delivered the 17th and final E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft to the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Ga., on March 23.

The wing is the only unit to fly the aircraft. The Joint STARS aircraft is the world's most advanced wide-area airborne ground surveillance, targeting and battle management system.

"We're extremely proud to give the wing another tool in the low density, high demand toolkit," said Col. James Shaw, deputy director of the Joint STARS Systems Group at Hanscom. "Joint STARS demonstrated its vital role ... during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, epitomized by its ability to see through the now-famous sand storm attack."

The Joint STARS aircraft is an airborne battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. Its primary mission is to provide ground and air commanders with ground surveillance to support attack operations and targeting that contributes to the delay, disruption and destruction of enemy forces.

"While the production of the Joint STARS is coming to an end, its mission remains vital to the success of the warfighter, and we are committed to keeping the E-8C dominant for today and tomorrow's battlefield through 2025 and beyond," said David LaRochelle, director of the group.

The E-8C is a modified Boeing 707-300 series commercial aircraft with the radar, communications, operations and control subsystems required to perform its operational mission. The most prominent external feature is the 40-foot long, canoe-shaped radome under the aircraft that houses a 24-foot long antenna.

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