GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team’s second engine heads to test

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Paris Air Show, Le Bourget, France – 16 June 2009 - The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team’s successful testing plan continues with the second F136 development engine soon to begin testing on schedule.

F136 test engine 005 is in final assembly, heading for installation in a test cell at GE in Evendale, Ohio, US, within a few days to start testing for the first time. Following tests in Evendale, Engine 005 will undergo altitude testing at the US Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center later in the year.

Engine 005 follows the completion of Engine 004’s first round of testing, which began in January 2009 – a month ahead of schedule.

The Fighter Engine Team also recently launched its flight clearance certification review, a process that will prepare the F136 engine for flight testing. Following flight certification, the first F136-powered F-35 Lightning II will take to the air in early 2011, in alignment with Lockheed Martin’s ongoing flight test schedule for the Joint Strike Fighter program.

The forward momentum of the testing process continues the Fighter Engine Team’s record of meeting every milestone on time, remaining on schedule, and staying within budget – demonstrating an unmatched record of success for a Joint Strike Fighter propulsion team.

The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team is currently in the fourth year of its System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract with the US Government Joint Program Office. In addition to Engines 004 and 005, a third powerplant, 006, is in assembly and will be testing within a few months. The Fighter Engine Team has already totaled more than 800 hours of testing on pre-SDD and SDD engines.

The Fighter Engine Team has received 70 percent of the total funding from its SDD contract, and overall the US Government has spent $2.5 Billion developing the F136 engine thus far. The remaining efforts in SDD will lead to the successful completion of the F136 development program and production engine deliveries in 2012.

“The Fighter Engine Team continues to press ahead in development. We have engines in test, are on a path toward first flight, and are nearing completion of our developmental funding. We remain on schedule and within budget, with continued high marks for program execution from our customer. With this kind of track record, we are excited about the future of the F136 engine in the Joint Strike Fighter program,” said Jean Lydon-Rodgers, President of the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team.

“The F136 engine offers several advantages for the military customer. The engine will have added temperature margin and built-in, affordable growth for the future. We have watched the evolution of the F-35 aircraft and designed our engine to meet the future needs of the Joint Strike Fighter. All of these advantages will be ready for customers beginning in 2012,” said Mark Rhodes, Senior Vice President for the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team.

The F136 engine is a product of the best technology from GE and Rolls-Royce, two world-leading propulsion companies. The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team has designed the only engine specifically developed for the F-35 aircraft, offering extra temperature margin and affordable growth. The F136 engine will be available to customers in 2012.

GE - Aviation, with responsibility for 60 percent of the F136 program, is developing the core compressor and coupled high-pressure/low-pressure turbine system components, controls and accessories, and the augmentor. Rolls-Royce, with 40 percent of the F136 program, is responsible for the front fan, combustor, stages 2 and 3 of the low-pressure turbine, and gearboxes. International participant countries are also contributing to the F136 through involvement in engine development and component manufacturing.

The F136 engine is the most advanced fighter aircraft engine ever developed and will be available to power all variants of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft for the US military and eight partner nations. The F136 program has already totaled more than 800 hours of testing in SDD and pre-SDD testing.

The first test runs for the new F136 engine in early 2009 topped a year of significant achievements for the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team. The program successfully completed Critical Design Review in 2008, as well as completing the first testing at the unique, new Peebles, Ohio, test site, and full afterburner test runs at the US Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) test facility in Tennessee.

The F136 engine program has a solid history of executing its contract on schedule and within budget. As a result, the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team consistently receives top reviews from the JPO for program execution.

About 900 engineers and technicians are engaged in the F136 program at GE Aviation’s Cincinnati, Ohio, headquarters, and at Rolls-Royce facilities in Indianapolis, Indiana; and Bristol, England.

The SDD phase is scheduled to run through 2013; the first production F136 engines are scheduled to be delivered in 2012 for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. This occurs during the fourth lot of F-35 aircraft production, which is very early in the overall aircraft production program.

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 GE or Rolls-Royce making them the engine powers of choice for the U.S. and U.K. militaries. Potential F-35 production for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines and international customers, including the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, may reach as many as 5000 to 6000 aircraft over the next 30 years.

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