Rolls-Royce signs $171 million F-35 STOVL Liftsystem contract

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has signed a $171 million contract with Pratt & Whitney to supply the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem® for a further 9 Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant F-35B Lightning II aircraft as part of the third lot of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP).

This order is the second production contract for Rolls-Royce as part of its involvement in the JSF programme. The previous contract, for LRIP 2 and signed in December 2008, was for $131m.

The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem comprises a LiftFan, Roll Posts and 3 Bearing Swivel Module. Rolls-Royce will provide these through the propulsion system prime contractor Pratt & Whitney, with module deliveries having already commenced in July 2009 under the Long Lead provision within the contract. The scope of the contract also includes spare hardware, production investment and sustainment planning.

Simon Henley, Director for New Product Introduction at Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace, said:

“This new contract, together with the imminent first flight of the F-35 in STOVL mode, shows the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem programme is now generating real momentum and that Rolls-Royce technology is helping to bring a step change in air combat technology.

“As the LiftSystem programme continues to gain momentum on both sides of the Atlantic we are looking forward to supporting the flight trials with the LiftSystem engaged in the F-35B at the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River”.

Orders for the LiftSystem are expected to total over 600, with leading customers including the US Marine Corps, The UK Armed Forces and the Italian Navy. The F-35B variant is expected to remain in service well after 2050.

Rolls-Royce engineers in Bristol, UK and Indianapolis, US, are involved in design and assembly of the LiftSystem, with component manufacture also taking place at the Hucknall and Bristol sites in the UK.

This production contract follows on from the $1.1bn contract signed with Pratt & Whitney in 2001 to develop the F135 STOVL Propulsion System.

  1. Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, operates in four global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy. Rolls-Royce has a broad customer base comprising 600 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 2,000 marine customers including 70 navies, and energy customers in 120 countries.
  2. Rolls-Royce is under contract to Pratt & Whitney for development of the LiftSystem components of the F135 STOVL Propulsion System. The contract signed with Pratt & Whitney in December 2001, which covers the design and development work of the STOVL elements during the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the programme, is worth $1.1 billion to Rolls-Royce over 10 years.
  3. The LiftFan, a 50-inch two-stage counter rotating fan capable of generating more than 20,000lb of thrust, is driven by the aircraft main engine and supplies the forward vertical lift. The 3BSM is a swivelling jet pipe capable of redirecting the rear thrust from the horizontal to the vertical position. It can rotate through 95 degrees in 2.5 seconds and passes 18,000lb of thrust generated from the main engine. Aircraft roll control is achieved using the Roll Posts mounted in the wings of the aircraft, each of which provides further 1,950lb thrust from the main engine.

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