November 30, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Pratt & Whitney F135 ground test engines have logged more than 4,000 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) ground test hours as the company nears completion of the engine that will power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's (JSF) first flight next year
Pratt & Whitney F135 engine [USAF photo]
The 4,000 SDD
hours, combined with more than 3,500 hours accumulated during the Concept Demonstration Aircraft (CDA) phase of the F-35 development program, demonstrate an unprecedented level of maturity and experience as the lead propulsion system on the JSF
The milestone, achieved during engine runs at the company's advanced test facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., represents the combined total test hours of F135 SDD development engines including both Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL
)/Carrier Variant (CV
) and Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL
) configuration engines.
"This achievement demonstrates a maturity in design that is truly unique for a development engine program," said Bill Gostic, vice president of F135 engine programs for Pratt & Whitney. "The experience we are gaining during ground tests, combined with the lessons learned from being an evolution of the production F119 for the F/A-22 Raptor, is being built into the first flight test F135 engine, which will be delivered next month."
The Pratt & Whitney F135 propulsion team has delivered five CTOL/CV configuration and four STOVL configuration F135 engines to test for a total of nine engines for the SDD program.
In August, Pratt & Whitney began assembly of the first flight test engine in support of the F-35's first flight. The first flight test engine will be delivered to Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth, Texas, plant in December of this year, with the F135 program achieving Initial Flight Release in January 2006. The F135 will power the first flight of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the third quarter of 2006.
The technologically advanced F135 for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), is an evolution of the highly successful F119 engine for the F/A-22 Raptor. Together the F135 and F119 will have logged more than 1 million flight hours before the F-35's introduction into operational service in 2012.
The F135 propulsion system team consists of Pratt & Whitney, the prime contractor with responsibility for the main engine and system integration; Rolls-Royce, providing lift components for the STOVL F-35B; and Hamilton Sundstrand, also a UTC
company providing the F135's control system, external accessories and gearbox.