Northrop Gruman has successfully tested the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) Attack Support Upgrade (ASU) programme.

The company says the test flight demonstrated the operational utility of the new Link-16 tactical Digital Information Links Command and Control (C2) functionality for Joint STARS operators.

Joint STARS is an airborne battle management and command and control platform that conducts ground surveillance to develop an understanding of the enemy situation and to support attack operations and targeting that contributes to the delay, disruption and destruction of enemy forces.

Northrop Gruman’s vice president of intelligence surveillance reconnaissance programmes Dave Nagy says the ASU’s Full Battle Management (FBM) element is the most far-reaching Link-16 implementation to date within the US Department of Defence.

“With FBM, Joint STARS now supports the full set of command messages to digitally control air assets,” Nagy says.

“These improvements provide Joint STARS operators with increased real-time information on available weapons, airfields and weather, improving mission assignment development and coordination and control of available weapons.”

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The E-8 Link-16 network management capacity provides more efficient communication transmission routing.

The ASU also provides more rapid exchange of electronic warfare surveillance and intelligence information, enhancing time-critical target prosecution that reduces the kill chain timeline, according to Northrop Gruman.

Reported by Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh