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In a September 2017 research study from the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, Col. Matt Hurley, USAF Ret., a senior fellow at Mitchell, examines opportunities for the US Air Force to modernize how C2ISR assets are designed and implemented in the field, according to a press release. “Today, the US Air Force’s ‘Big Wing’ C2 and ISR aircraft provide critical situational awareness of air and surface activity, as well as adversary intentions across the spectrum of conflict,” it reads. “The three in-demand assets that make up what is known as the ‘Iron Triad’ are the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), and the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint electronic and signals intelligence gathering aircraft. This Mitchell study addresses the past, present, and future of these valuable aircraft, and the future operating environment where airborne command and control and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C2ISR) will be even more vital to successful military campaigns and contingency operations.”