MELBOURNE, FL -- The U.S. Air Force E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) testbed aircraft was unveiled today by the U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Corporation with its new engines prior to beginning military certification flight tests. The first flight is scheduled for later this week.
"Getting new engines on our Joint STARS test aircraft is a major milestone for the Air Force," says Col. Jim Lovell, commander, 751st Electronic Systems Group, which is responsible for the service's E-8C Joint STARS development program. "The reliability and fuel efficiency of these new engines will yield huge benefits to the warfighter -- it's all about improving operational capability."
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the Joint STARS, a modified commercial aircraft that detects, locates, classifies, tracks, and targets hostile ground movements, communicating real-time information through secure data links.
"We are another step closer to the benefits these new engines bring to our troops," says Tom Vice, vice president, Eastern Region, of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "The increased operational efficiencies inherent in this design translate to less money spent in maintenance and more time flying. Joint STARS will climb faster, fly higher, and require fewer inflight refuelings, which all translate to more time on station providing valuable information to our ground troops. We are committed to providing this new capability to the warfighter as soon as possible."
The engine upgrade program is based on the Seven Q Seven Propulsion Pod System incorporating Pratt & Whitney's commercially-proven JT8D-219 jet engine.