Pratt & Whitney (Hartford, CT, US) reported on June 15 that its F135 engine powering the F35 Lightning II fighter jet has successfully demonstrated full-life capability during accelerated mission testing (AMT) at Arnold Engine Development Center, Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, US. This achievement of 5,200 total accumulated cycles – the equivalent of more than seven years of operation or approximately 1,200 F-35 missions – was completed in 10 months without any need for turbine maintenance.
AMT is conducted as a means of testing and validating reliability and maintainability performance for the engine over the span of its life and identifying any potential issues well before they would be encountered by the operational fleet. Made possible by the U.S. Air Force Component Improvement Program, this test was focused on the Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) engine variant which powers the F-35A model, and represents a key milestone on the F135 program. Testing took place between August 2014 and May 2015.
"We are delighted with the exceptional performance of the F135, and are proud to partner with our U.S. Air Force customer on this important program testing," says Mark Buongiorno, vice president, F135 Propulsion System, Pratt & Whitney. "Being able to conduct a fulllife overhaul, years ahead of the remainder of the operational fleet, provides valuable insight and confidence in the robustness of this engine's design."
During AMT, F135 engines accumulate equivalent flight hours under monitored conditions and at a faster rate than in operating aircraft. The advanced data collection from this program identifies improvement opportunities aimed at maximizing readiness within the life cycle cost expectations for the entire F135 CTOL-powered F-35 fleet.
The F135 has logged more than 5,700 flights, 21,000 flight hours and more than 800 vertical landings. To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 228 F135 engines, including System Design and Development and production engines.
The F-135 features several composite parts and structures, some of which are manufactured by Cobham Composites. Click here for more.