MELBOURNE, Fla., March 1, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) an initial $12.5 million contract to begin non-recurring engineering work required to replace engines on the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft. Last month the U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman announced the selection of the Pratt & Whitney/Seven Q Seven team to supply their integrated Propulsion Pod System, which includes the JT8D-219 engine.
"We are starting work on this critical program right away," said Dave Nagy, Northrop Grumman vice president for Joint STARS. "We are committed to deliver a greatly improved, operationally efficient and economically cost-effective propulsion system to the Joint STARS fleet. This will eliminate the biggest maintenance issue and, over the life of the program, the new engines will pay for themselves in cost avoidance and fuel savings."
"These are exciting times for the Joint STARS program," said Nagy. "In addition to re-engining, there are numerous mission suite capability enhancements underway and planned for this 707-based platform. This allows the Joint STARS to perform an even more critical role in our country's defense and in the protection of our military troops in distant and dispersed locations. The addition of new engines on the Joint STARS means that it will continue fulfilling those roles and new ones for the next 50 or more years."
As part of the Northrop Grumman Joint STARS production program, each E-8C airframe was completely refurbished at the company's Lake Charles, La., Maintenance and Modification Center. "History has shown that the 707 was ultimately built stronger than original designs predicted and, following the refurbishment work we did on our E-8C production line, this airframe is capable of efficiently flying well into this century," Nagy added.
The E-8C Joint STARS weapon system, based on Boeing 707-300C series aircraft refurbished by Northrop Grumman, is currently powered by Pratt & Whitney's TF33-PW-102 (commercial JT3D) engines--the same engines the aircraft were first delivered with more than 35 years ago. Subsequent engine studies have consistently shown new and more powerful engines will dramatically improve the Joint STARS operational utility and performance characteristics while reducing sustainment costs.
The new engines will be more fuel efficient, reduce the amount of in-flight refueling and increase the amount of time a Joint STARS aircraft can stay on-station providing warfighters with critical airborne ground surveillance information. They will also improve overall aircraft reliability and reduce sustainment costs as they are designed to operate much longer with greatly reduced maintenance.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
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