F-35 Lightning II News

GE Rolls-Royce Team Preparing For First Full-Engine Test in 2004

June 16, 2003 (by Anonymous) - The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team is undergoing a series of design, test and manufacturing milestones this year in preparation for initial full-engine tests for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program in 2004.
The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team comprises: GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Rolls-Royce plc in Bristol, England; and Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

The Critical Design Review (CDR) with the JSF Program office is underway this month. Successful completion of the CDR leads to the first full engine tests in 2004 when two development engines will run with a target of accumulating 250 hours of performance assessment. To date, close to 1,000 drawings have been released for the full engine hardware.

"Successful completion of the CDR will validate expected performance goals against the aircraft system, and verify that we are on track for weight and cost requirements, and confirm thrust margin," said Bob Griswold, general manager for the JSF program at GE Aircraft Engines.

On contract for the JSF program, the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team earlier this year completed analytical work to confirm the engine's range and thrust parameters. Combustor rig tests conducted in May 2002 demonstrated efficiency and durability demanded for JSF design requirements. Current development work is under the four-year, Phase III JSF program. This pre-System and Development Demonstration (SDD) phase, performed under a $411 million contract, runs through 2005.

Designed specifically for the JSF program, the F136 will be fully interchangeable and affordable to meet all of the aircraft variants. Engines will be tested for all JSF variants during Phase III: Short Takeoff Vertical Landing (STOVL) for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.K. Royal Navy, Conventional Takeoff/Landing (CTOL) for the U.S. Air Force, and the Carrier Variant (CV) for the U.S. Navy.

"The centerpiece of our Phase III program is to run full engines with 2004 technology," said Thomas Hartmann, vice president for JSF programs at Rolls-Royce. "the turbomachinery will be production standard. This will position our team very well with a low-risk entry going into the SDD phase, which is anticipate will run through 2012."

The Phase III program follows a highly successful Phase II effort in 1997-2001, during which the F136 engine team completed the JSF Critical Design Review and ran 80 hours of engine core testing (during 2000) at Roll-Royce's Indianapolis facility. In addition, Rolls-Royce performed front fan rig testing at full speed and pressure ratio, which verified fan flow and fan efficiencies.

GE Aircraft Engines, with responsibility for 60 percent of the program, is developing the core-compressor and turbine system components, and the augmentor. Rolls-Royce, with 40 percent of the program, is responsible for the front fan, combustor, Stage 2 & 3 of the Low Pressure Turbine, and gearboxes. GE and Rolls-Royce are jointly developing an integrated high-pressure/low-pressure counter-rotating turbine design. Philips ETG in the Netherlands will provide propulsion system components, and FiatAvio in Italy is responsible for structural components for the low-pressure turbine and will participate in the development of the accessory gearbox.