Boeing and EADS have responded to a NATO request for information (RFI) on re-engining its 17 Boeing E-3A Sentry airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft and three Boeing 707 trainer/cargo aircraft.

Boeing Wichita has teamed with CFM International to propose the CFM56-2, already installed on French, UK and Saudi Arabian E-3s, as well as over 450 re-engined Boeing KC-135s and RC-135s.

EADS Military Aircraft has teamed with Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and Seven Q Seven to offer a commercially certificated JT8D-219 re-engining package.

Both teams have responded to the RFI issued by the NATO AEW Programme Management Agency (NAPMA) in May, seeking information on the feasibility and costs of re-engining the fleet to meet Stage 3, and potentially Stage 4, noise limits. NATO's E-3s and supporting trainer/cargo aircraft are powered by elderly P&W TF33/JT3D engines which do not meet European noise and emissions requirements.

NAPMA is expected to present its recommendation to NATO in November. Industry anticipates a request for proposals early next year, leading to a selection in the latter part of 2002.

NATO requires the contractor to assume total system performance responsibility, requiring teaming to offer a complete airframe/engine package. Responses to the RFI were also required to include an industrial participation package for the 13 nations which share the NATO AEW fleet.

Boeing Wichita will act as prime contractor for the CFM56-based bid, working with the General Electric/Snecma engine joint-venture and existing NATO AEW support contractors Aeronavali in Italy and EADS in Germany. EADS' Dornier Flugzeugwerft division will act as prime contractor on the JT8D-based bid, with Seven Q Seven responsible for certification of the propulsion package on the 707-300 airframe and Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Sector for military qualification. P&W will supply the engines, Goodrich the inlet and thrust reverser and Nordam the cowl doors and pylons.

Source: Flight International