The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team (FET) has been awarded a contract valued
at $2.4 billion to develop its F136 engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
The contract, issued by the US government, will be applied towards the System
Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the F136 engine program. This SDD
phase will run through September 2013. The F136 Initial Service Release is
planned in 2012 at which time the first F136 production engines will begin
The F-35 is a next-generation, multi-role stealth aircraft designed to replace
the AV-8B Harrier, A-10, F-16, F/A-18 Hornet and the United Kingdom's Harrier
GR.7 and Sea Harrier, all of which are currently powered by a GE or Rolls-Royce
engine. Potential F-35 production for the US Air Force, Navy, Marines and
international customers, including the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, may
reach as many as 5,000 to 6,000 aircraft over the next 30 years.
In addition to full-scale development work, the F136 SDD phase includes the
production and qualification of 14 engines, seven of which are for ground-test,
and six plus one spare for flight-tests. The first F136 engine is expected to
test in mid-2008, but earlier risk-reduction tests are due to begin in 2006
using one of the Fighter Engine Team's original pre-SDD development engines.
The F136 engine is expected to flight test on the F-35 in 2010, with production
engines available in 2012. This occurs during the fourth lot of F-35 aircraft
production, which is very early in the overall F-35 production program.
The FET is actively supporting Lockheed Martin's activities to maximize F-35
international industrial participation opportunities. GE and Rolls-Royce
provided a significant number of manufacturing opportunities to the
international partners of which six were involved in the Phase III pre-SDD
period and are working to maximize manufacturing, engineering, and sustainment
opportunities for all eight countries during the SDD phase. A substantial number
of contracts issued, on a single source basis, are due to be announced in the
coming months, and will be awarded on a best value, competitive basis. In
addition, key universities based within the partner nations are in discussion
with the FET regarding their involvement in a number of knowledge programs.
Offering unrivaled experience in performance based logistics, military engine
depot management, single engine, carrier, Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL),
and stealth aircraft operations, the F136 will be fully and physically
interchangeable to power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The F136 offers a
single engine configuration for all three versions of the aircraft: STOVL for
the US Marine Corps and UK Royal Navy, CTOL for the US Air Force, and the CV for
the US Navy.
With the infusion of best practices and improved technology, the F136 is
expected to exceed requirements for maintainability, affordability, and
reliability for all JSF variants, while enhancing the ability of the US services
and international partners to cooperate in joint coalition operations.
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