05 March 2001



The Warfighter's Window to the Battlefield

by Lieutenant Colonel Kevin C. Peterson and Major Phillip G. Basinger

"Joint STARS is an Army-Air Force system designed to provide near-real-time surveillance intelligence, targeting, and battle management to the land component commander. The system is made to support a corps-size unit. Joint STARS consists of the Air Force-owned E-8 aircraft, a modified Boeing 707 manned by an Air Force and Army aircrew, and what we like to call the "business end of the system," the Ground Station Module (GSM), operated by the Army. The E-8, using its chin-mounted multimode radar, collects moving target indicators (MTIs), fixed target indicators (FTIs) , and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery and downlinks this to the GSM. GSMs not in the footprint of the aircraft datalink can have another GSM relay the data through a satellite at a reduced data rate using the built-in satellite communications radio."

Ground Station Module (GSM)
Figure 1