F-35 Lightning II News

F-35 alternate engine funded

September 17, 2007 (by Eric L. Palmer) - The fourth and final US Congressional subcommitte has voted to restore funding for the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 alternative engine for the JSF.

The General Electric - Rolls-Royce F136 engine [USAF photo]

The US Department of Defense had tried to cancel the program to save money. This has been an on-going funding battle in Washington for some time.

In other news, Pratt & Whitney qualified the F135 engine test cell at Patuxent River (Pax River) Naval Air Station in Maryland.

Modifications of the existing engine test cell were required to handle the 40,000 pounds of thrust produced by the F135; "By upgrading the Pax River test facility, we've added our third and final flight test center to perform carrier variant (CV) and short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion system tests," said Bill Gostic, vice president, Pratt & Whitney F135 engine programs. "We are excited to partner with the Department of the Navy in support of the F-35 Lightning II flight test program. The F135 engine has logged more than 8,400 system development and demonstration ground test hours and continues to power the F-35."

Finally, Pratt & Whitney is inspecting an F-135 engine after it shut down during a hover test August 30th for the short take-off and landing F-35B. Quoting Flight International: "P&W says it does not know what caused the anomaly, which had not occurred before on this or other F135 test engines, and has stopped all testing until the cause is known. But it is not expected to delay first flight of the STOVL F-35B in May next year."