The Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is the most advanced targeting and battle management system in the world. As an airborne battle management and command and control (C2) platform, the Joint STARS system conducts ground surveillance, enabling commanders to develop an understanding of the enemy situation, and to support attack operations and targeting. From a standoff position, the aircraft - a Northrop Grumman-modified commercial jet - detects, locates, classifies, tracks and targets hostile ground movements, communicating real-time information through secure data links with U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army command posts. The system also can be used in peacekeeping and crisis management scenarios. Northrop Grumman exclusively maintains the E-8C. The program consists of 19 aircraft which undergo periodic depot maintenance at Northrop Grumman Technical Services operations in Lake Charles, La. The program rebids in 2011.
Also, Northrop Grumman won the coveted Air Force contract to maintain and service the KC-10 refueling tankers. The KC-10 has played a prominent role in supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to humanitarian efforts around the world. The maintenance is estimated to be worth $3.8 billion over the life of the contract, which is not only a boon to SWLA but to the entire state.
Prior to the award of the KC-10 contract, manning was approximately 289 personnel. Today employment exceeds 600, with approximately 200 more jobs to be created prior to 2012.