U.S. firm Pratt & Whitney is at the forefront of building the international partnerships that are the foundation of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. On Tuesday at Le Bourget, P&W president Louis Chênevert and Turkish undersecretary for defense industries Murad Bayar signed a letter of intent to award part of the production of the F-35’s F135 engine to Turkish aerospace companies Alp Aviation and KaleKalip. Today, said Chênevert, these two firms “join more than 35 companies in the eight JSF partner nations who will come together to produce the F135 propulsion system.”
Alp Aviation will produce the F135 rear fan hub and KaleKalip will manufacture compressor shrouds. Both components are in areas critical to the engine’s operation and performance. The awards to these two Turkish firms were made after a six-month long selection process of trying to find suppliers in Turkey that could provide components made to the demanding tolerances of the F135 design at competitive pricing.
As of today, the F135 engine has accumulated more than 3,000 test hours as part of the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase of the program, which is in addition to the 3,500 hours that had already been run during pre-SDD testing. P&W will deliver the first F135 engine to Lockheed Martin in August 2005 and will achieve initial flight release in January 2006. The F135 will be the sole engine system to power the first flight of the F-35, which is scheduled for August next year, 12 months after the first engine is delivered.