Northrop Grumman Corp. has added a new propulsion system to one of its planes used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The company announced Tuesday it completed the first test flight of its E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or Joint Stars plane, with the new propulsion system.
Pratt and Whitney helped develop the system for the plane’s JT-8D engines.
Joint STARS’ new propulsion system has SevenQSeven-made mounting pylons, a pneumatic system and other mission equipment.
Receiving military airworthiness certification for operations requires requires flight tests, data analysis and propulsion system approval, the company said.
Certification for operation out of the Robins Air Force Base, Ga. opens the door for the operational fleet to be outfitted with new engines, which would address takeoff performance maintenance cost and fuel use.
Northrop holds an estimated $540 million contract for total system support responsibility of the fleet.