The 16 JSTARS aircraft stationed at Robins Air Force Base have been flying missions since September 11, 2001.
Roughly 2,500-3,000 people work in Active Duty and reserve roles connected to the mission.
But recently, concerns have grown over the mission's future funding.
13WMAZ received calls and emails to our newsroom this week about the future of JSTARS at Robins.
Budget discussions in Washington have muddied the issue so we went straight to the sources.
We talked with Chrissy Miner at 21st Century Partnership and General John Kubinec to find out if the jets will keep flying.
The 116th Air Control Wing and Georgia Air National Guard oversee the JSTARS at Robins. The surveillance and radar system brings in $195 million in economic impact to Central Georgia.
But with President Donald Trump's recent budget proposal, confusion and concern spread over the mission's future.
Senior Advisor at 21st Century Partnership, Chrissy Miner, says not to worry.
“The current operation is steady and they are at the mission as we speak and they will continue to perform that mission through the life-cycle of the aircraft, which is now projected to be somewhere in the 2020s,” Miner said.
When announcing more C-130 maintenance work coming to Robins last week, Brigadier General John Kubinec said a similar thing.
“Our Secretary of the Air Force said in the budget rollout that the current fleet will be in operation through at least the mid-2020s. And so our job here at Robins is to make sure that mission is effective as it can be,” Kubinec said.
So we verified that the current JSTARS mission is continuing for at least several more years. Miner said anything else is wrong.
“Saying JSTARS is leaving tomorrow is absolutely not an accurate statement. Again, they are directly involved in the fight at this moment as we speak supporting combatant commanders all over the world and will continue to do so for the next, hopefully the next decade,” Miner said emphatically.
In the President's budget proposal, the Air Force removed funding for a replacement to the JSTARS platform, otherwise called recapitalization.
Miner said central Georgia's congressional delegation is fighting to continue the funding to replace the aircraft.
Brigadier General John Kubinec, USAF
Chrissy Miner, Senior Advisor to 21st Century Partnership
United States Air Force budget proposal documentation