Northrop Grumman has successfully completed first flight of its re-engined E-8C Joint-STARS battlefield surveillance test aircraft.
The US Air Force last year contracted Northrup to overhaul a pair of its E-8Cs by replacing their TF33 turbofans with Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 engines.
The Boeing 707 based Joint-STARS fleet has suffered in availability and field performance during operations in the Middle East in recent years due to the comparatively poor performance of the original TF33 turbofans. Re-engining the fleet will allow the aircraft to operate out of airfields with increased fuel loads and with greater reliability and reduced fuel burn. The JT8D-219s also meet Stage 3 noise compliance standards without hush kits, and offer much improved climb rates.
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