F-35B Lightning II. (Photo: JSF.mil)
January. 8, 2010, East Hartford, Conn. -- Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine and Rolls-Royce LiftFan® successfully powered the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) fighter through the first in-flight engagement of its STOVL propulsion system. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.
“Pratt & Whitney is tremendously proud to celebrate this significant program milestone with our teammates from Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office, Rolls-Royce, and our sister company, Hamilton Sundstrand,” said Warren Boley, vice president of F135 Engine Programs. “After more than eight years of development and test and more than 12,850 hours of combined ground and flight testing, it is a testament to the hard work of thousands of people that the F135 propulsion system performed ‘as advertised,’ and validates the performance and capability of the Pratt & Whitney F135.”
During the flight, F-35 Lead STOVL Pilot Graham Tomlinson of BAE Systems engaged the shaft-driven LiftFan propulsion system at 5,000 feet and 210 knots, then slowed to 180 knots with the system still engaged, before accelerating to 210 knots and converting back to conventional-flight mode. The STOVL propulsion system was engaged for a total of 14 minutes during the flight. The successful test is the first in a series of planned STOVL-mode flights that will include short takeoffs, hovers and vertical landings.
“We look forward to continuing to support our customers as they transition flight test operations to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and continue demonstrating the remarkable capability of the F-35 Lightning II,” Boley said.
The F135 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program surpassed 12,850 hours of engine test time and has successfully completed 164 hours of flight time. Missions have included augmented takeoffs, supersonic flight, in-flight cycling of the weapons bay doors, air-to-air refueling, in-flight engine restarts, and cross-country flights to and from Eglin and Edwards Air Force Bases and Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
Pratt & Whitney has designed, developed and tested the F135 to deliver the most advanced fifth generation fighter engine for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as eight international partner countries. The F135 is derived from proven technology of the only operational fifth generation fighter engine, the Pratt & Whitney F119. It has been further enhanced with technologies developed in several Air Force and Navy technology programs.
The F135 is the only engine powering the F-35 Lightning II flight test program. The F135 propulsion system has proven it can meet diverse aircraft requirements, and the ground and flight test experience demonstrates the maturity and the associated reliability of the F135 engine for armed forces around the world.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning future business opportunities. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in funding related to the F-35 aircraft and F135 engines, changes in government procurement priorities and practices or in the number of aircraft to be built; challenges in the design, development, production and support of technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corp.'s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
F-35B Lightning II. (Photo: JSF.mil)