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    Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS

    'Shot Down Day 1': Pentagon Fears Command Plane Vulnerable to Russian Missiles

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    According to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) would be useless in a fight against an advanced military.

    In testimony before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense late last week, Wilson admitted that even an upgraded version of the aircraft would do little good.

    "Russian and Chinese surface-to-air missiles have more range, and the plane would be shot down in the first day of conflict," she said, as reported by the Air Force Times.

    The Air Force's preferred alternative, according to the officer, would be a new integrated combat management system based on intelligence data from a series of manned, unmanned and satellite-based systems. 

    Wilson noted that the Air Force could pursue both systems, but that this would cost $7 billion more than the Air Force proposes in its budget.

    The Air Force is looking to scrap the E-8 revamp program for its 2019 budget. Lawmakers, however, are resisting the idea, urging the Air Force to go ahead with the purchase some 17 new Boeing 707-sized planes for the program.

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    Tags:
    E-8 command plane, US Air Force, China, Russia, United States
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