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Broadband Meets Joint STARS: The first E-8C Joint STARS ground surveillance aircraft has received an upgraded that provides beyond-line-of-site communications capability that essentially moves the E-8 from a dial-up-type Internet capability to broadband. Working with prime contractor Northrop Grumman, the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., implemented an Urgent Operational Need request when operators in the US Central Command Theater of operations requested the upgrade to extend their connectivity to secure DOD Internet networks and enable them to transfer larger data and imagery files. The ESC-led team has compressed the normal acquisition process from years to months to begin the modifications, which takes about six days per aircraft, and expects to complete all 17 E-8C aircraft by year’s end. (Hanscom report by Chuck Paone)