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Thu, May 28, 2009

Testing On Track for GE Rolls-Royce F136 Engine

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 Martin.

FMI www.FighterEngineTeam.com

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