On 13 January 2021, Northrop Grumman welcomed a first major contract in 2021 as the US Air Force awarded the company a USD 325 million contract to support the Boeing E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) programme.
The Total System Support Responsibility programme for the fleet of sixteen E-8Cs (a modified Boeing 707) includes programme management, engineering technical support, aircrew and maintenance training, supply chain and spares management, technical data and publications, programme depot maintenance and overall customer support.
The E-8C carries a variety of advanced and very specialized radar, communications, operations and control subsystems so it can provide surveillance and target acquisition, and serving as an airborne command and control center, to US Air Force and Army battle commanders in the air and on the ground.
The E-8C are assinged to the 116th and 461st Air Control Wings commanding the 12th, 16th and 128th ACCS at Robins AFB (GA). The GA coded aircraft are often deployed to various locations overseas.
92-3289/GA 19622/660/P-1 l/n Feb14 ex N4131G
92-3290/GA 19295/617/P-2 l/n Feb19 ex N4115J
93-1097/GA 19296/630/P-4 l/n Sep20 ex N6546L
94-0284/GA 19293/546/P-5 l/n Nov16 ex N2178F
94-0285/GA 19442/609/P-6 l/n Nov19 ex 67-30054
95-0121/GA 20016/752/P-8 l/n Sep20 ex 68-11174
95-0122/GA 20495/852/P-7 l/n Jun14 ex 71-1841
96-0042/GA 20319/833/P-9 l/n Nov20 ex CAF 13705
96-0043/GA 20316/825/P-10 l/n Apr20 ex EL-AKT
97-0100/GA 19986/730/P-11 l/n Feb20 ex N707MB
97-0200/GA 20317/826/P-12 l/n Jan20 ex CAF 13703
97-0201/GA 20318/829/P-13 l/n Jul20 ex CAF 13704
99-0006/GA 19998/750/P-14 l/n Nov20 ex 68-11072
00-2000/GA 20043/786/P-15 l/n Sep19 ex 85-6973
01-2005/GA 19382/627/P-16 l/n Apr20 ex 81-0892
02-9111/GA 19581/638/P-17 l/n Apr20 ex 81-0896
In 2019, it was announced that the US Ministry of Defense is looking for a successor of the E-8C in the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) programme, but the US Congress have shown reluctance to retire JSTARS. The US Air Force expects ABMS will cost USD 3,3 billion through 2025, compared to the approximately USD 7 billion it planned to spend on a new JSTARS platform. And that is one of the reasons the new investment is done. The ABM programme is still running, so eventually the E-8C will be retired, this is expected in the mid-to-late-30s. ABMS may not be fully ready until the 2040s, about a decade after the E-8Cs are expected to run out of service life. The E-8C entered service in 1991 and cost USD 107 million per plane per year to operate.