April 24, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine program has achieved more than 5,000 hours of System Development and Demonstration (SDD) ground testing and is on schedule to support the first flight of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) this fall.
Pratt & Whitney F135 engine [USAF photo]
The 5,000 SDD
hours are in addition to the more than 3,600 hours accumulated during the concept demonstration phase of the F-35 program, reflecting the F135's maturity and reliability. Pratt & Whitney is a unit of United Technologies Corp.
Most recently, the F135 team completed the accelerated mission test required for flight clearance. This test is considered among the most challenging that development engines undergo, and initial hardware reviews show the engine performed exceptionally. The F135 program is on schedule to complete all flight clearance testing next month.
"The ground test program for the F135 has been extremely successful, and the engine continues to meet or exceed expectations," said Bill Gostic, Vice President of F135 Engine Programs for Pratt & Whitney. "The F135 program continues to be on plan as we lead up to the F-35's first flight later this year."
There are currently nine ground test engines in the F135 SDD program. The first flight test F135 engine was delivered to Lockheed Martin ahead of schedule in December 2005. The engine was installed in the first Conventional Take Off and Landing variant F-35 aircraft in February.
The technologically advanced F135 engine is an evolution of the highly successful F119 engine for the F-22 Raptor. Together the F135 and F119 will have logged approximately 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 variant; and Hamilton Sundstrand, provider of the F135's control system, external accessories and gearbox.
In addition to the F135 engine for the Joint Strike Fighter and the F119 for the F-22 Raptor, Pratt & Whitney military engine models include the F117 for the C-17 Globemaster III; F100 for F-15 and F-16 fighters; J52 for the EA- 6B Prowler; TF33 powering AWACS, Joint STARS, B-52, C-141 and KC-135 aircraft; TF30 for the F-111; PT6 for T-6A and UH-1N aircraft; and JT15 for the T-1A trainer and Pegasus UCAV.