Thu, May 28, 2009
F35 Could Fly With GE/RR Engine In 2 Years
GE Rolls-Royce tells ANN that it has begun Flight Clearance
Certification Review, a process that will clear the F136 engine for
flight testing in the next several months.
The engine is the alternative to the Pratt and Whitney primary
engine slated for use in the F35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter. If
the review process goes according to plan, the F136 engine could be
flying in an F35 in 2011.
The flight clearance certification reviews will include
representatives from the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team,
Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Government Joint Program Office, the US
Air Force and Navy. The review team will evaluate all pre-flight
and performance parameters that will lead the F136 engine to be
cleared for flight testing. The review team has already conducted
two days of detailed technical reviews, which included
representatives from Edwards Air Force Base and Patuxent River
Naval Air Station.
Mark Rhodes, Senior Vice President for the GE Rolls-Royce
Fighter Engine Team, is confident of a successful review.
"Flight certification will be a challenging process but the F136
team will deliver on its commitments to Lockheed Martin and the
Joint Program Office as we have demonstrated on all of our major
milestones to this point. We have a solid record of on-time,
on-budget results and every day we are focused on maintaining that
level of performance for our customers," he said.
The program has not been without its troubles. Early in May, the
Pentagon cut funding for the alternative engine program for the 4th
time, and each time, Congress has restored that funding.
The F35 Lighting Joint Strike Fighter is expected to be the
primary combat aircraft for all branches of the US Military as well
as numerous allies for decades, and multiple variations of the
aircraft are being developed by primary contractor Lockheed
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