Northrop Grumman's Joint STARS Takes to the Sky With New Engines

MELBOURNE, Fla., Dec. 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman's
(NYSE:NOC) E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System's (Joint
STARS) T-3 testbed aircraft successfully completed its "first flight" using new, 
upgraded Pratt & Whitney production-configured engines.
"After three years of design, production and testing, we are so pleased
to have this important capability ready for full integration into the
fleet," said Bryan Lima, Northrop Grumman program director for Joint
STARS development and modernization. "Our success is directly
attributed to our outstanding relationship with our government customer
and industry partners in providing the warfighter with this important
The new engines flown on T-3 are an upgrade to the existing commercial
engines in that they feature a newly designed pneumatic system. The
system, designed by Northrop Grumman, uses a single stage precooling
design that vastly improves reliability and the hardware's life cycle.
The new precooler allows hot, compressed air from the engines turbines
to be processed at a substantially cooler temperature and more
consistent pressure level than its predecessor. This improves the
efficiency of the Air Cycle Machines which cools the aircraft's
environmental control system, cabin, and Prime Mission Equipment, as
well as pressurizes the utility hydraulic subsystem, engine starting
capability and liquid cooling system.
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.
In addition to enhancing operational performance, the new engines pay
for themselves within eight years through reduced maintenance cost and
better fuel efficiency.
Today, the Joint STARS fleet is the only all-weather, long-range,
real-time, wide area surveillance and battle management and command and
control weapons system in the world. It is flown by the 116th and 461st
Air Control Wings based on Warner Robins, Ga.
To date, Joint STARS has accumulated over 70,000 combat hours
supporting operations, including ongoing support to Operation New Dawn
over Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan and Operation
Odyssey Dawn over Libya.
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