F-35 Fighter Jets Need An Engine Upgrade; Pentagon Awards Contract To Pratt & Whitney

Under the F-35 Joint Strike Program, Pratt and Whitney announced that it has been awarded a $1.5 million contract for the study of F135 modernisation study and operational assessment. 

Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corporation, will assess F135 engine enhancements required to support future F-35 weapon system capability requirements across all F-35 variants beginning with Block 4.2 aircraft.

“Designed with the knowledge that operational environments will evolve and threats will advance, the F135 is postured to meet future F-35 capability requirements,” said Pratt and Whitney in a statement.

The study would concentrate on enhancements addressing improvements to up and away thrust, powered lift thrust, power and thermal management capacity, and fuel burn reduction. Reportedly, the study will be completed in March 2021.

“This award is a significant milestone for the programme and the warfighter, as we look to ensure the F135 propulsion system continues to provide the foundation for all air vehicle capability requirements over the full lifecycle of the F-35,” Pratt & Whitney Military Engines President Matthew Bromberg said. 

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Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft is single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft. The F135 engine is used in all three variants – the F-35A CTOL (Conventional Takeoff and Landing), F-35B STOVL (Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing) and F-35C CV (Carrier Variant).

The F135 engine is capable of delivering more than 40,000 lbs. of thrust. The F135 has evolved from the proven F119 engine, which exclusively powers the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, and features best-in-class single-engine reliability, fifth-generation stealth capabilities as well as advanced prognostics and health management systems.

“As we look to the future, growth in aircraft capability must be met with matched propulsion modernization. Fortunately, the F135 has ample design margin to support agile and affordable upgrades that will enable all F-35 operators to keep pace with evolving threat environments,” Bromberg said.