A Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint STARS (surveillance target attack radar system) aircraft has been fitted with an advanced imaging sensor for the first time.
The company reported the successful conclusion of flight tests with the addition of a Goodrich MS-177 multispectral camera to a new keel beam accessory bay immediately aft of the radar bay. The 500-pound sensor is a version of the senior year electro-optical reconnaissance system camera that was originally developed for carriage by the Lockheed Martin U-2.
“From long distances, the APY-7 radar combined with the MS-177 camera could very clearly identify people, buildings, automobiles and ships,” said a Northrop Grumman spokesman.
Tests of other sensor combinations in the new bay will now take place, with a view to determining whether the 17-strong JSTARS fleet should all be upgraded with the new capability.