F16-TARS (Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System) Mission
Provide warfighting theaters with organic, survivable, and responsive penetrating tactical reconnaissance that gathers timely, high-quality imagery intelligence data for use by commanders in the air-land battle.
The F16-TARS (Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System) consists of a removable pod uploaded to F-16C Block 25/30/32 aircraft. TARS is the Air Force’s only high-speed, penetrating, under-the-weather, theater-controlled, reconnaissance capability. In the span of a single engagement, it provides unique rapid strike and reconnaissance in a high-threat environment. Per the 2004 operational requirements document and
as requested by CENTAF, TARS must provide near-real-time imagery transmission to forces on the ground, allowing immediate response to threats and battle damage assessment (BDA).
Continuously deployed in Iraq since May 2005, TARS has significantly increased imagery available in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) by producing over 6,000 images for CENTCOM in support of infantry and special operations personnel engaged in counter insurgent pre-raid planning, time-sensitive targeting, BDA, and counter-IED support. Data link capability will begin limited fielding in FY07
Program Status : SustainmentFuture Upgrades : Datalink for near-real-time data transmission