Boeing E-8C Joint Stars

      The E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is a long-range, air-to-ground surveillance system designed to locate, classify and track ground targets in all weather conditions. As an airborne battle management and command and control platform, it conducts ground surveillance to develop an understanding of the enemy's situation and to support attack operations and targeting that contributes to the delay, disruption and destruction of enemy forces.
      While flying in friendly airspace, the joint Army-Air Force program can look deep behind hostile borders to detect and track ground movements in both forward and rear areas. It has a range of more than 150 miles (250km). These capabilities make "Joint STARS" effective for dealing with any contingency, whether actual or impending military aggression, international treaty verification, or border violation.
     "Joint STARS" evolved from U.S. Air Force and Army programs to develop, detect, locate and attack enemy armor at ranges beyond the forward area of troops. In 1982, the programs were consolidated and the Air Force became the lead agent. In May 1984, the Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force and Army made the final decision to put the "Joint STARS" radar on a Boeing 707 platform. In April 1988, Grumman was able to put together an E-8A "Joint STARS" prototype on the first rebuilt Boeing 707 and complete a test flight without the radar sensor. The Defense Acquisition Board made major program changes. It increased the number of E-8 aircraft to be built to 22 from the 10 originally planned, and approved a program plan to use new Boeing 707 (E-8B) aircraft instead of used (E-8A) platforms. The first two E-8A development airplanes were 20-year-old commercial Boeing 707s, whose conversion difficulties and questions of remaining service life pushed the board toward having subsequent aircraft be E-8B airframes. 

See the display models of the E-8C at