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Joint STARS Gets a Lift: The Air Force has awarded an “up-to” $532 million contract to Northrop Grumman to make improvements to the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft. The work will include enhancements to communications, navigation, surveillance, air traffic management, mobile target tracking—much in demand by ground forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom—joint tactical radio systems, advanced radar systems, and airborne networking. USAF can expend the entire amount, but officials believe the actual work will come in under the top dollar. It’s to be completed by December 2011.