VIDEO: Sowela receives $35M donation of Air Force E-8A aircraft

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Sowela Technical Community College has received one of its largest donations to date from the U.S. Air Force with an E-8A Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft valued at $35 million. The jet is being flown in and signed over to Sowela from the Air Force during a special ceremony today at Chennault International Airport.

The Joint STARS is a modified Boeing 707-300 series aircraft. According to the Air Force, Joint STARS evolved from Army and Air Force programs to develop, detect, locate and attack enemy armor at ranges beyond the forward area of troops. The first two development aircraft deployed in 1991 to Operation Desert Storm and supported Operation Joint Endeavor in 1995. Team Joint STARS men and women have flown over 137,000 combat hours supporting Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force decided in December 2021 to retire the E-8 fleet, paving the way for the USAF to donate the aircraft to Sowela.

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