Thursday, March 3, 2016

New JSTARS To Begin Testing in 2021?

.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said the replacement for the service’s aging ground surveillance plane could begin testing as early as 2021 and be delivered ready for mission just two years later.
Welsh’s statement to Congress on Wednesday afternoon again tweaks the timeline on the successor to the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS, whose contract and delivery dates already have been changed numerous times.
“It’s in the budget, it’s funded all the way through IOC,” Welsh said, referring to the initial operational capability — acquisition parlance for when the plane is supposed to be ready to conduct initial operations. “2024 is the delivery date but we’d like to pull it back to ’23 for IOC, which means we should be delivering airplanes into ’21 or ’22 at the latest” for testing.
Welsh designated the replacement aircraft an acquisition priority in 2013.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told lawmakers the start date for the program had changed for at least two or three reasons.
“The Air Force slowed it down at one point because I think it was the judgement of our service acquisitions executive and some others that the laydown and the strategy wasn’t quite ready,” she said. more