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Northrop tests E-8C aircraft with new engines


The E-8C Joint STARS T-3 testbed aircraft during flight test. A Northrop photo

MELBOURNE (BNS): Northrop Grumman has successfully completed test flight of an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) T-3 testbed aircraft fitted with new Pratt & Whitney engines.

The company was contracted in 2005 to upgrade the engines of the long-range surveillance, battle management and command and control aircraft operated by the US Air Force.

The first upgraded E-8C aircraft was test flown in 2008.

"After three years of design, production and testing, we are so pleased to have this important capability ready for full integration into the fleet," Bryan Lima, Northrop Grumman programme director for Joint STARS development and modernisation, said.

The upgraded aircraft is equipped with Pratt & Whitney supplied JT8D-219 engines that replace the TF33-102C turbofan engine.

The new engine on T-3 allows for an increased mission capable rate and lowered ownership costs. The re-engining of the fleet has the potential to provide the Joint STARS system with significant operational and maintenance improvements, Northrop said.

The US Air Force presently operates 17 E-8 J-STARS aircraft which is based on the Boeing 707-300 platform.

The aircraft, equipped with advanced ground-looking radars and sensors, is capable of tracking ground vehicles, aircraft and provide tactical images to ground and air theatre commanders.

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Northrop  USAF  

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