Northrop Grumman has selected the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 to re-engine the US Air Force's E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) fleet, but funding has yet to be secured for the programme, to be implemented through an operating lease.

The Seven Q Seven Boeing 707 re-engining team has been selected over CFM International offering the CFM56-2 to supply an integrated propulsion-pod system for the JSTARS, a modified 707-300C. The team, which is led by Irish lessor Omega Air, includes P&W (engines and exhaust transition ducts), Goodrich (inlets and reversers) and Nordam (struts and cowl doors).

Northrop Grumman says re-engining with more powerful and fuel-efficient turbofans will increase the E-8's operational utility, improving reliability, reducing the amount of in-flight refuelling required and increasing time on station. The company says efforts are under way to identify initial funding to begin the programme in fiscal year 2003 or 2004.

Supplemental type certification of the re-engined 707 is due in December at 19,000lb-thrust (85kN) per engine, with follow-on approval at 21,000lb-thrust planned for March.

In addition to the 18 planned E-8s, Seven Q Seven hopes to re-engine NATO's Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, and possibly the USAF's E-3 fleet.

Source: Flight International