First JSTARS Production Engine Completed

Pratt & Whitney last week held a ceremony at its manufacturing facility in Middletown, Conn., to mark the completion of the first production-version JT8D-219 engine for the Air Force’s E-8C JSTARS ground-surveillance aircraft. The Air Force is mulling whether to re-engine its E-8C fleet and is currently conducting testing. This initial production engine, along with three subsequent ones, will form the first production shipset that JSTARS prime contractor Northrop Grumman will install on the E-8C testbed aircraft. Already the testbed is flying with a test configuration of JT8D-219s. Developmental flight testing is scheduled to conclude this fall. The new engines will enable the E-8C “to operate with more thrust, while consuming less fuel, compared to the TF33 engines originally installed,” said Bev Deachin, Pratt’s vice president for military programs, in a company release. The benefits include longer mission duration. (Includes Hanscom report by Patty Welsh)