AN/APY-7 Radar Logistics & Depot Support (J-STARS)

E-8C Joint STARS  

The E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is an airborne battle management and command and control (C2) platform that conducts surveillance of fixed and moving ground targets to develop and understanding of the enemy situation and to support location, tracking, targeting, and attack operations. These functions support the primary mission of Joint STARS – to provide dedicated support of ground and air theatre commanders.

The E-8C is a modified Boeing 707-300 series commercial airframe extensively refurbished and modified with the radar, communications, and 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 forward fuselage that houses the 24-foot-long, side-looking phased array antenna.

The radar and computer subsystems on the E-8C can gather and display both broad area and detailed battlefield information. Position and tracking information on enemy and friendly ground forces is collected as events occur. This information is analyzed on board and also relayed in near-real time to the Army's common ground stations and other operations centers via the secure, jam-resistant surveillance and control data link. Battlefield situational information is also relayed to ground command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) nodes beyond line-of-sight via several on-board radio communication systems.

  • Radar operation modes
  • Wide area surveillance
  • Sector search
  • Attack control
  • Moving target indicator
  • Synthetic aperture radar
  • Ground reference coverage area

The Joint STARS system can respond quickly and effectively to support worldwide military contingency operations and recently demonstrated this by completing 249 surveillance missions during Operation Enduring Freedom. The E-8C aircraft can fly a mission profile for 9 hours without refueling. During normal operations, its range and on-station time is substantially increased through in-flight refueling.

In order to be responsive to the evolving threats of the future, several modernization and upgrade programs, including new engines for improved operational performance and fuel efficiency, are planned for the Joint STARS fleet. As a battle management and command and control asset, the E-8C can support the full operational spectrum of missions from monitoring peacekeeping operations to major theater war.