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JSTARS Software Workload to Surge by 2016 | Arts & Culture

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JSTARS Software Workload to Surge by 2016
JSTARS Software Workload to Surge by 2016

By Jenny Gordon
Public Affairs 

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.  -- Robins will soon gain additional workload for software maintenance on the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS, platform.

The move is one area of growth potential for the base's Command and Control, Intelligence,
Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division, whose program office has been working to implement a transition plan for its E-8C software.

"It continues to build our C2ISR capabilities," said Brigid O'Hearn, 577th Software Maintenance Squadron director. "That's been a big squadron focus to try to share
expertise, knowledge and capabilities across the ISR platforms.

"It creates great synergy for the warfighter to have so much ISR work here, which gives them better benefits in the long run."

Northrop Grumman's integration facility, located in Melbourne, Fla., handles all of the  software's development programs, new technology, as well as the overall product release responsibility under the Total System Support Responsibility contract.

The 577th SMXS is predominantly responsible for the maintenance side of the JSTARS software used on the planes.

"Primarily the things we do make the operators' jobs easier," explained O'Hearn. Currently, the move to bring the workload here is in its early stages.

The initiative is to combine capabilities to eventually accomplish the majority of the work at Robins. The success of the initiative hinges on the continued execution of the award-winning public-private partnership between Northrop Grumman and the Air Force.

"We expect to significantly increase the organic responsibility by 2016 when the labs are fully established here, including 100 percent of the software maintenance work," said Kalpesh Fifadara, 577th flight director in charge of planning.

A challenge for the base will be figuring out facility space for the workload, including where to house sensor, radar and developments labs. A key piece will also be accommodating the E-8C's radar, a tremendous capability that makes the platform unique.

"When you come to the actual software test and accreditation that you need to get the product out the door and on the jet to the warfighter - that's where the radar is a key asset," said Fifadara.

Key stakeholders in the transition also include the 116th and 461stAir Control wings at
Robins, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., development teams, Joint STARS Test Force
and the Army.

"There will be a great benefit to having this development collocated with the operational wings," said Col. Kevin Clotfelter, 116th ACW commander. "The key will be to not incur mission degradation during the transition."


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