GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team completes study for Netherlands

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Paris Air Show, Le Bourget, France – 16 June 2009 - The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team has completed its recommendations to the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office and the Government of The Netherlands for assembly, Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) of engines for future F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team is developing the F136 engine for the F-35 aircraft and had been requested by the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office and The Netherlands Government to complete a study on engine sustainment. The study provide details and recommendations on how The Netherlands could develop a Final Assembly and Check Out facility as well as maintenance for their fleet of 85 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, the Italian F-35 fleet and other international partners.

The Joint Strike Fighter program will recommend that F-35 propulsion systems be maintained through a “Performance-Based Logistics” (PBL) contracting process, in which military customers receive guarantees of in-service engines at an agreed-to level, as opposed to a traditional time and material contract.

The propulsion sustainment study also highlights the solid histories of GE and Rolls-Royce as well as the companies’ services experience with a variety of businesses and military customers in The Netherlands.

The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine team combines the world’s leading propulsion companies to develop the F136 engine – the most advanced fighter engine ever designed. The F136 engine includes reduced numbers of parts and will include a significant temperature margin – both of which will decrease maintenance costs.

Both parent companies have extensive, successful experience in the development of Performance-Based Logistics contracts for engine support in the US and other nations. Both companies also maintain a significant presence in The Netherlands, with corporate offices, engineering and field service operations. GE employs more than 1,200 people in-country, while Rolls-Royce maintains a regional Benelux office and maintenance center in Rotterdam, specializing in marine products.

GE powers KLM commercial airliners as well as KDC-10 refueling tankers for the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Dutch fleet of Apache helicopters.

Rolls-Royce powers C-130H aircraft for the RNAF as well as NH-90 and Lynx helicopters for the Royal Netherlands Navy. Rolls-Royce Spey engines power all Royal Netherlands Navy frigates.

“Our F136 site survey team was very favorably impressed with the facilities, plans and expertise already available or in progress at the Logistics Center Woensdrecht. The Fighter Engine Team would make a good fit there, bringing an unmatched wealth of experience in supporting military aircraft. The Fighter Engine Team already has significant industrial participation in The Netherlands, including both engineering design and advanced manufacturing work,” said Jean Lydon-Rodgers, President of the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team.

“The F136 engine includes what we refer to as ‘the Dutch fan case’ because of the important manufacturing and design contributions of Dutch Aero and Atkins Nedtech in that key component. Overall, the F136 engine incorporates several key advantages for the military customer, including a significant temperature margin, expanding ‘hot and high’ capability, and offering affordable growth built into the design. These advantages make the F136 an outstanding choice for F-35 customers,” said Mark Rhodes, Senior Vice President of 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 F-16, AV-8B Harrier, A-10, 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. Potential F-35 production for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines and international customers may reach as many as 6000 aircraft over the next 30 years.

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