September 30, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Earlier this month the Pratt & Whitney led F135 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) team completed the program's 1,000 test hour. This testing milestone represents the cumulative hours of F135 SDD Testing and includes both the Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL/CV) engine tests, as well as the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) system test runs.
"The achievement of this testing milestone is positive proof of the overall health and maturity of the F135 Program," said Bill Gostic, F135 Program Vice President at P&W. "Accumulating 1,000 test hours only 15 months after completing Critical Design Review has put us in a great position to reach our testing goals for 2004 and beyond. I thank the entire F135 Team, without whose tireless efforts this accomplishment would not have been possible."
Since testing began in October of 2003 both the CTOL/CV and STOVL
configured F135 systems have achieved some very impressive testing milestones. The F135 program has seen FX631 -- the first CTOL/CV configured system to test -- complete several test runs to full afterburner power during which it demonstrated over 39,000lbs of thrust, meeting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter performance requirements. And earlier this year the F135 Team celebrated as FX641 performed sustained runs to "hover thrust" demonstrating over 39,000lbs of thrust in the vertical take off mode; satisfying a very important STOVL performance requirement.
This latest milestone comes on the heels of the F135 Program's delivery of the second Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing Propulsion System to test, engine FX643. The Propulsion System was delivered to P&W's test facility in West Palm Beach in the middle of August and began testing on August 20. FX643 is focused on endurance testing.
Next up for the F135 team will be the delivery of the remaining two F135 STOVL Propulsion Systems to test under the testing portion of the team's SDD
contract. Delivery of the two remaining systems, FX642 and FX640, is expected before the end of October. FX642 will be delivered to Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) at Arnold Air Force Base near Tullahoma, Tenn., where it will perform simulated altitude testing. Testing on FX640 will be focused mainly on aircraft integration.
The F135 Propulsion System Team consists of P&W, the prime contractor with responsibility for the propulsion system and system integration for all variants; Hamilton Sundstrand provider of the F135's control system, external accessories and gearbox; and Rolls-Royce, providing the Rolls-Royce LiftFanR, 3 Bearing Swivel Module and Roll Posts to the STOVL (Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing) F-35B. The technologically advanced F135 has evolved from the highly acclaimed F119 engine powering the F/A-22 Raptor.
The F135 will power all versions of the F-35 -- CTOL
, and STOVL. The F135 is the only propulsion system in the F-35's System Development and Demonstration phase, and will power the first flights of the F-35. Development of an interchangeable engine is planned for future production competitions.