MELBOURNE, Fla., Jan. 18, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) have selected a Pratt & Whitney team to provide replacement jet engines on the U.S. Air Force's Joint STARS aircraft fleet. The Pratt & Whitney/Seven Q Seven team has been selected to supply the integrated Propulsion Pod System (PPS), including the JT8D-219 engine, for the Joint STARS system, based on a best-value analysis.

"We are looking forward to getting this critical program started which will improve the operational efficiency of the Joint STARS fleet," said Dave Nagy, Northrop Grumman vice president for Joint STARS. "This competition was a win-win for the entire Joint STARS community and the military men and women they serve."

Air Force officials are working to begin program activities as soon as possible. The 2006 Defense Budget provides $12.5 million to begin the non-recurring engineering activities associated with replacing the Joint STARS engines.

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 maintenance 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 is 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 without maintenance.

"The Air Force has determined that based on performance studies and the predicted life for the E-8C weapon system, this engine replacement program is a smart business decision," commented Nagy. "Over the life of the program, the JT8D-219 engines will pay for themselves in cost savings compared to the cost of maintaining the existing engines."

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.

  CONTACT:  Jim Stratford
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (321) 726-7526