Northrop Grumman and Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA) have formed a team to produce the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) should the US system be selected by NATO for its Airborne Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme.

NATO is expected to decide by the end of this year whether to acquire the JSTARS for battlefield surveillance and targeting.

Responses to NATO's request for information (RFI) are due for submission in mid-June, covering the possible procurement of five, ten, or 15 aircraft. A final contract could be signed by the end of 1997.

The team would also include Matra of France, Italy's Alenia, British Aerospace and Computing Devices Canada. NATO's project office charged with completing analyses and recommending an AGS system issued an RFI for an AGS system in March.

The UK is also considering an alternative solution being studied competitively by Loral and Raytheon, probably based on a long-range business jet such as the Bombardier Global Express,

The JSTARS aircraft will be based on commercially available Boeing 707-300s, possibly re-engined with CFM International CFM56 turbofans. Also in the running are helicopter-based solutions from France's Thomson-CSF and Alenia of Italy.

Source: Flight International