February 1, 2007 (by Asif Shamim) - Pratt & Whitney successfully completed first afterburner tests on the F135 engine which will power the F-35 Lightning II .
The test occurred on the fifth flight and validates the engines ability to reach maximum power settings.
The test flight which occurred in Fort Worth, Texas saw the F-35 climb to 20,000 feet and flew with maximum afterburner for six seconds with all augmenter zones lit. The engine is rated at more than 40,000 pounds of thrust making it one of the most powerful engines used in a fighter to date.
Bill Gostic, Pratt & Whitney vice president, F135 engine program said "The afterburner test once again validates the capability of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine as we continue to power the F-35 flight test program. We are proud to be part of the F-35 team".
F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley praised the Pratt & Whitney engine, "The F135 provided a smooth transition into afterburner, like the F119. You wouldn't know the afterburner was lit other than you start going faster."
The afterburner test is just part of a series of milestones which the F135 engine has achieved. The engine has also completed over 7000 hours of ground testing and more than 3600 hours during demonstration phase of the F-35 program.
Pratt & Whitney is the lead propulsion supplier for the F-35 program. The F135 has evolved from the highly successful F-22 Raptor engine, the F119. When the F-35 is introduced into frontline service in 2012 both engines would have logged over 800,000 hours.