The Air Force's E-8C aircraft still have a lot of life left in them and, with marginal investments in items like new engines and radar improvements, could remain the nation's premier wide-area ground-surveillance platforms "for the next 30 to 40 years," said Northrop Grumman's Dave Nagy, vice president of business development for battle management and engagement systems, in a March 2010 interview. The Air Force leadership that same month said plans to re-engine all 17 E-8Cs are in limbo as the service mulls issues like Joint STARS airframe longevity. E-8Cs are based on refurbished 707 airframes that Northrop converted to the military configuration. Here, an E-8C sits on the runway before a mission over Iraq Sept. 1, 2008. This flight marked the 40,000th combat hour for the Joint STARS force's support to combat operations in Southwest Asia. The Total Force 116th Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Ga., is home to the E-8 fleet.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Tweets by @AirForceMag