The U.S. military grounded its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters after a routine engine inspection revealed a cracked turbine blade in an F-35A based at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The precautionary flight suspension was announced on February 22, following an inspection earlier in the week. The grounding affects all three variants of the fighter, for a total of 51 aircraft.
Flight operations of the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (Stovl) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter remained suspended this week as U.S. military and contractor engineering teams investigated the cause of an engine fueldraulic line failure in a test aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The fueldraulic line is part of the fuel-based hydraulic system that controls the actuators of the F-35B’s vectoring exhaust system. The grounding did not affect the F-35A and C models, respectively, the conventional takeoff and carrier variants.
GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce ended their self-funded development of an alternative engine for the F-35, bowing to Pentagon opposition and looming, deep reductions in U.S. defense spending.
Pratt & Whitney and General Electric have bought their high-stakes battle over the provision of an alternative engine for the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Farnborough.
The U.S. House armed services seapower and air-land forces subcommittees this week included $485 million in continued funding for the GE/Rolls-Royce F136, an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), in H.R.5136, the National Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2011.
Pratt & Whitney is preparing five more ground-test engines to support seven units already participating in the F135 engine development and demonstration program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Two of the five will be used to qualify propulsion-system configuration ahead of planned delivery of the first-flight engine to Lockheed Martin by year’s end.