The Boeing E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is a United States Air Force (USAF) airborne battle management and command and control asset. Its primary role is to provide dedicated support of ground and air theater commanders. The E-8C can respond quickly and effectively to support worldwide military contingency operations, capable of evaluating enemy situation by conducting ground surveillance. It is a jam-resistant system, able to operate despite experiencing heavy electronic countermeasures. The aircraft can stay airborne for 9 hours without refueling.
The E-8C was derived from the Boeing 707-300 series commercial airframe. It was modified with radar, communications, operations and control subsystems required to perform its mission. The radar and computer subsystems on the E-8C can gather and display broad and detailed battlefield information. Data, including position and tracking information on enemy and friendly ground forces, is collected as events occur. The information is then relayed in near-real time to the US Armys common ground stations. This information is vital in air-to-ground operations and allows air and land commanders to gain and maintain control of the battlespace and execute against enemy forces. As a battle management and command and control platform, the E-8C can support a wide range of roles and missions from peacekeeping operations to major theater war.
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