F-35 Engine and Radar Going On

Released on Monday, May 24, 2004
United States of America
F-35B Lightning II
F/A-22A Raptor
AESA - Active Electronically Scanned Array
STOVL - Short Take Off Vertical Landing
Northrop-Grumman and Pratt & Whitney have announced consecutively important news on F-35's engine and radar development. The F135 STOVL engine has demonstrated hover thrust and the APG-81 radar has began range-testing.

Pratt & Whitney F135 Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter demonstrated 39,700 pounds of thrust, the level required for the F-35 to hover. In addition, the engine weight has been reduced staying below the contracted target figure.

The engine weight and hover thrust are critical magnitudes for the F-35 STOVL specifications that will enable the F-35B to operate from British small aircraft carriers and unpaved runways, closed areas for the US Marine Corps and US Air Force.

According to Pratt & Whitney, an on-going weight management plan will result in a STOVL weight at 3% to 6% below the contracted target. The F135 propulsion system team consists of Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton Sundstrand and Rolls Royce. This propulsion system evolved from the F119 engine powering the US Air Force F/A-22 Raptor.

Northrop-Grumman has begun the rooftop integration range-testing of the F-35's fire control radar system, called the AN/APG-81. The fire control system features an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) which enables near-simultaneous performance of multiple radar functions.

An AESA radar system moves the radar's beam electronically instead of mechanically using moving parts. This characteristic makes an AESA quicker finding targets or performing another duties and more reliable than legacy radar systems.

The rooftop integration range-testing phase will be carried out during the next six to eight months. Afterwards, the APG-81 will enter air and surface modes flight testing onboard a BAC 1-11 testbed aircraft. In late 2005, the first APG-81 radar is expected to be delivered to Lockheed Martin's Mission System Integration Lab.


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