So Lengthy, JSTARS: One of many Final E-8s Hits the Freeway for its Closing Vacation spot

An uncommon car made its method down Georgia State Freeway 247 on July 16—an E-8C JSTARS plane. 

Airmen from the 116th and 461st Air Management Wings helped tow the airframe, tail quantity 2000, 4 miles down the street from Robins Air Drive Base, Ga., to the native Museum of Aviation, the place it would stay on show. The concentrating on, battle administration, and command and management jet was retired in Might, a spokesperson for the 78th Air Base Wing informed Air & Area Forces Journal. 

Photographs shared on social media and with Air & Area Forces Journal present Airmen working with Georgia Division of Transportation staff and the Houston County Sheriff’s Workplace to maneuver the 171,000-pound jet previous visitors lights and different obstructions.

One picture explicit exhibits the plane’s nostril artwork and nickname, “The Watchman,” with Col. Christopher Dunlap, commander of the Georgia Air Nationwide Guard’s 116th Air Management Wing, and different Airmen concerned within the operation. 

The transfer marks one more milestone for Robins because it goes by way of the method of transitioning away from the E-8 and standing up 4 new missions. In June 2021, the Air Drive first introduced plans to chop the JSTARS from Robins, which has hosted the plane since 1996. 

Instead, Robins is getting a Battle Administration Management squadron, an E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) squadron, a Spectrum Warfare group, and help items centered on the Superior Battle Administration System. 

The primary E-8 departed Robins in February 2022. A month later, the service introduced its intent to divest 12 of 16 plane in fiscal 2023 and 2024, and Congress expedited the transfer by repealing a earlier regulation requiring the Air Drive to keep up not less than six E-8s. 

This previous March, the Air Drive finances request revealed a plan to speed up the divestment plan, with all the fleet retiring by the top of fiscal 2024. Lawmakers haven’t signaled any curiosity in blocking these retirements. 

Robins, in the meantime, is winding down its E-8 mission. The sixteenth Airborne Command and Management Squadron, one in every of two JSTARS squadrons beneath the 461st Air Management Wing, was inactivated in February, and the 129th and 330th Fight Coaching Squadrons flew their last flights the identical month. 

Precisely what number of E-8s are nonetheless within the fleet is unclear. In December, the 78th Air Base Wing stated in a launch that six had been divested, however a spokesperson declined to supply a precise quantity this week, citing operational safety. With not less than yet another gone in tail quantity 2000, although, issues are clearly winding down, and the spokesperson confirmed the ultimate retirements are nonetheless deliberate for “early fiscal 12 months 2024,” which begins Oct. 1, 2023. 

The twelfth Airborne Command and Management Squadron, the final flying unit left within the 461st Air Management Wing, made its last operational flight July 12. 

In the meantime, the 18th Airborne Command and Management Squadron and the 728th Battle Management Administration Squadron each stood up in February, and the bottom’s first E-11 Battlefield Airborne Communications Node arrived in April.