Mission: Army JSTARS (138th MI Co) trains and deploys Soldiers as integrated E-8C aircrew members that conduct global Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) missions as directed by Requests For Forces (RFF) from home station or forward operating locations to support training, homeland security, contingency and combat operations.
Soldiers from the 138th Military Intelligence Company, the core of Army JSTARS, are the linchpin of all JSTARS radar support to tactical and operational Army War Fighters world-wide. Army JSTARS supports the 461st Air Control Wing (USAF Active Duty) and the 116th Air Control Wing (Georgia Air National Guard) at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. As an integral member of Team JSTARS that includes habitual and routine coordination and planning with both Air Control Wings, Army JSTARS is the link between the manned E-8C and ground maneuver and Army attack aviation elements.
JSTARS is a theater Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) platform that provides support to joint, interagency and multinational commanders and components. Army JSTARS contributes to enhancing situational awareness and understanding for ground maneuver commanders conducting Unified Land Operations as well as elements conducting Homeland Security operations.
JSTARS includes airborne and ground-based components. The airborne component consists of the E-8C aircraft with ground surveillance radar and communications subsystems.
The ground-based component of JSTARS includes Army and Marine Corps Tactical Ground Stations (TGS) located with brigade/regimental combat teams, and at division, corps, and echelon above corps operations centers as well as directly linking with Army aviation platforms or with interagency elements.
The radar data collected and processed onboard the E-8C in near-real-time is sent, uninterrupted, to linked TGSs/reception nodes. The Army aircrew on the E-8C and the TGS operators simultaneously exploit radar data relevant to the ground elements maneuver, intelligence, and targeting priorities.
Army officers and noncommissioned officers integrate with the flying squadrons of both USAF wings of Team JSTARS to facilitate training, certification and readiness for operational employment. The Army JSTARS commander participates as a member of each wing’s Battle Staff. Officers and NCOs at the squadron level conduct direct coordination and collaboration concerning operations, plans and exercises, aircraft scheduling, standards and evaluations, and tactics.
Aboard the E-8C aircraft, Army officers serve as the Deputy Mission Crew Commander (DMCC). The DMCC is second in command of an experienced 18-member mixed Army and Air Force mission aircrew. They also directly coordinate and communicate with ground and Army aviation combat units to advise, assist and support the ground tactical situation based on the ISR capabilities of the JSTARS platform.
Senior NCOs are trained and qualified as Airborne Target Surveillance Supervisors (ATSS). The ATSS is the pivotal interface who ensures the radar data flow is uninterrupted between the air and ground. They also directly coordinate and communicate with ground and Army aviation combat units by receiving and processing Radar Service Requests (RSR) providing dynamic and ad hoc support.
Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures are honed by repeated deployments. Team JSTARS aircrews have logged over 100,000 flight hours since 2002 while supporting air and ground operations in combat, contingency and Homeland Security operations.