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Fiscal 2019 Defense Spending Compromise Drops USAF’s JSTARS Recap Program

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The negotiated deal on the fiscal 2019 defense spending bill has supported the U.S. Air Force’s plan to cancel the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System recapitalization program in favor of the Advanced Battle Management System, Defense News reported Tuesday.

The conference report on the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act states that the service would need for the ABMS program’s “increment 2” to achieve operational status before it can retire any of its E-8C JSTARS planes.

The Air Force uses JSTARS aircraft to perform command-and-control and ground surveillance missions.

The fiscal 2019 NDAA would authorize $120 million in additional funds to procure MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles in support of the ABMS initiative and $30 million to advance development work on a Northrop Grumman-built radar system for ground moving targets.

The report said congressional negotiators also set a number of requirements for the Air Force with regard to ABMS and existing JSTARS fleet, including quarterly reports on the ABMS program’s progress and a plan to sustain the current fleet of JSTARS aircraft.

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