Pratt & Whitney has delivered the first F135 production-standard short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) engine to Lockheed Martin for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter program. The engine manufacturer plans to deliver another 18 STOVL engines next year. Any further design changes will likely be limited to “mostly software tweaks,” a P&W representative told AIN. Meanwhile, the U.S.
Pratt & Whitney F135
Pratt & Whitney and General Electric have bought their high-stakes battle over the provision of an alternative engine for the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Farnborough.
Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine has achieved a first for the Lockheed Martin F-35 program by accelerating the F-35B STOVL version through the sound barrier last month. The test aircraf–BF-2–climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.07 at the off-shore test track near NAS Patuxent River in Maryland on June 14. The F-35 has supercruise capability and does not require the use of engine afterburner to achieve supersonic flight.
The U.S. House of Representatives on May 28 voted to retain funding for the F136 engine General Electric and Rolls-Royce are developing for the F-35 as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney F135. The FY11 Defense Authorization Bill contains $485 million for continuation of the engine, which is around 70 percent through its development program.
The U.S. House armed services seapower and air-land forces subcommittees this week included $485 million in continued funding for the GE/Rolls-Royce F136, an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), in H.R.5136, the National Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2011.
If Lockheed Martin is to be believed, there’s not much wrong with the F-35 program. In a briefing here yesterday, vice president F-35 business development Steve O’Bryan stuck doggedly to the company mantra that development is moving right along, with plenty of accomplishments despite the slow pace of flight testing.
The downturn in demand in some of its markets has not dented the ardor of engine maker Pratt & Whitney for developing new technology. “We have to be ready for the upturn,” said the U.S. company’s new president, David Hess. “We have to keep people focused on the great future of Pratt & Whitney, positioning ourselves for a strong recovery.”
The first Lockheed Martin (LM) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has now been grounded for more than six months. But program officials hope to get the world’s largest combat aircraft program airborne again by the end of this month. “We have a very aggressive flight test schedule to get everything done by October 2012,” Bill Coutts, LM’s F-35 site director, told AIN at Fort Worth recently.
The first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter) has now been grounded for nearly six months. On its 19th flight in early May, the aircraft encountered an electrical arcing problem in the flight control unit of the right horizontal tail. The F-35 has a unique electro-hydrostatic actuation system.
All systems go! That was the message from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter briefing at the Paris Air Show last week. The first test flights have already provided good validation of some of the aircraft’s unique features. The eight international partners are all still onboard, all having signed up for the production sustainment and flight development (PSFD) phase over last winter.