June 5, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - While controversy still surrounds the decision of whether or not to continue funding for an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, General Electric had to deliver some bad news for the F136 engine.
Pratt & Whitney F135 engine [USAF photo]
During testing, the pre system development and demonstration (SDD
) prototype of the F136, developed by a pertnership between General Electric and Rolls Royce, the engine developed an oil leak behind the compressor which led to an imbalance and finally to a stall. The engine was immediately shut down, but some damage was found on the tips of the compressor blades.
made it clear that this is still a prototype engine and is not fully representative of production equipment.
Pratt and Whitney reported trouble with temperature margins just last week leading to questions about which engine should be built if both are not funded as desired by the U.S. Congress.