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

According to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint spy 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 finish runt splendid.

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

The Air Force’s preferred alternative, according to the officer, would be a recent 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 concept, urging the Air Force to recede ahead with the purchase some 17 recent Boeing 707-sized planes for the program.