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F-35B propulsion system has 98% reliability
JSF's F135 engine gets 16% cheaper

Pratt & Whitney (P&W) has announced that it has reached a new handshake agreement with the military for a fourth batch of low production rate F135 engines. These engines power the F-35 aircraft in various forms. The fourth batch of engines will reportedly have a price of 16% less than the previous batches. Pratt & Whitney military engines Chief Warren Boley has noted that P&W is working to get the cost per engine down to about $10 million.

He also noted that the previously reported issue with the engines described as "screech" had been solved and that all new engines would have the fix applied on the assembly line and that the engines already in the field could have the fix installed easily in depot. Boley also stated that all three of the engine versions have received the Initial Service Release that certifies development is complete and so far, the engines have shown 99% reliability.

The most problem-prone version of the F-35 that uses these engines has been the F-35B and Boley noted that it had a mission readiness of 98% for the propulsion system. The F-22 uses the F119 engine and it by comparison has a reliability rating of 98.5%.

P&W is still working to improve the reliability of the F135 engine and improvements will be applied to the sixth and seventh production batches of the engine. Changes are minor according to Boley and will be able to be applied in the field to the existing aircraft.

 

In the military aviation world the more off the shelf parts you can incorporate into a new aircraft design, the cheaper the aircraft will be, the faster it can be fielded, and the more reliable the aircraft is in general. When the Air Force announced that it was lowering expectations for a new long-range bomber, the need for off the shelf parts was noted.

The USAF vision for a new bomber could include the engines used in the F-35 fighters according to Boley. He noted that if the bomber program is not as ambitious as stated by the Air Force the F135 engines could be used in the aircraft and that they would "most definitely" be suitable for a long endurance aircraft.

Boley said, "So the future bomber may be much more off the shelf, much more proven technology, it may be a subsonic bomber, it may use a proven [F-35 Pratt and Whitney] F-135."

Defense News notes that previously officials familiar with long-range strike aircraft had said that the F119 engine from the F-22 and the F135 engine from the F-35 burned fuel too quickly for a long-range aircraft.

P&W is also working on a new engine called the PW9000 that uses the low-pressure compressor from the F135 mated to a core from the geared turbo fan. This engine could possibly be used on the Navy Unmanned Carrier Launch Surveillance and Strike aircraft according to Boley.



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Arrghhh!
By Amiga500 on 2/11/2011 11:50:37 AM , Rating: 3
The P&W PR machine is hard at work and you've fallen for it.

Here, read this:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index...

quote:
But the main reason for meeting the press seems to have been to get out ahead of the news that, as part of the F-35 development replan within the Pentagon's 2012 budget, Pratt will receive contracts totalling about a billion dollars for more engines, flight-test support and component improvements.


quote:
Of the billion, about $600 million will pay for extra engines and other resources to support flight testing of the F-35, which will now continue to October 2016. Pratt's current contract ends in 2013, said Boley, so more money is needed to support another three years of flight test. The remaining $400 million or so will pay for a "component improvement program [CIP]-like" effort to improve the performance and durability of the F135. This is certain to have GE/Rolls and opponents of the F-35 rubbing their hands and crying "redesign!"


All is not quite as it seems. Have the issues (such as screech) been truly solved? Maybe. Maybe not.




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