Powering the Next Generation of Military Fighters

Customers around the world rely on Pratt & Whitney to deliver cutting edge propulsion systems.

Date: Issue 19 - December 2009

Now Pratt & Whitney is nearing the end of a long and successful process to bring our newest engine to market, as we prepare to deliver the first F135 production engines. The world’s most powerful fighter engine, the F135, is powering the F-35 Lightning II, made by Lockheed Martin. The F135 brings single engine safety derived from a proven fifth generation fighter engine, the F119 engine powering the F-22 Raptor.
Forty thousand pounds of thrust…stealth technology…supersonic and vertical lift capabilities. The F135 engine is the answer for today’s military, and its roots in the rock-solid F119 engine give our customers even greater confidence in the future of the F135.
Recently, we achieved a major milestone when the F135 propulsion system successfully powered the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter through the first in-flight engagement of its STOVL propulsion system. Additionally, the Pratt & Whitney F135 has surpassed 12,850 engine test hours and more than 126 test flights. This is a major step in what has been a very successful system development and demonstration phase of the F135 program. We are on schedule to deliver the first production F135 engines this year, as well as achieve our first short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) operations. The F-35 Lightning II program represents the first time the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have successfully fielded a tri-service strike fighter. The program also includes participation from eight F-35 partner nations: Turkey, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Currently, there are more than 40 companies from our eight partner nations engaged in our F135 engine program.
As planned, the F-35 Lightning II will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, AV-8B Harrier and the F/A-18 Hornet. More than 2,500 aircraft could be produced over the life of the program.
The F135 is derived from Pratt & Whitney’s F119-PW-100 engine, the cutting edge turbofan engine that exclusively powers the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor. The engine has an unparalleled pedigree, having surpassed 125,000 flight hours with a sterling record of dependability. The same proven elements of success in the F119 turbofan engine have been applied to the design and development of the F135. The F119 is the only fifth-generation fighter in operation, and Pratt & Whitney is proud to be the worldwide leader in fifth generation fighter propulsion.
Both the F119 and F135 engines feature advanced prognostics and health management systems, and are designed to core by integrating the F119’s high-performance six-stage compressor and single-stage turbine unit with a state-of-the-art low pressure stool. The F119 engine also delivers unparalleled aircraft maneuverability with its unique two-dimensional pitch vectoring exhaust nozzle. This convergent/divergent nozzle vectors thrust as much as 20 degrees up or down. Nozzle position management is integrated with the F-22 flight control system and is automatically regulated by the Full-Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), as are hundreds of other engine and aircraft operating parameters. The FADEC also features advanced diagnostics and on-condition management capability for maintenance awareness, autonomic logistics support and automatic field and test data processing. The F119 also enables Supercruise, the ability to operate supersonically without afterburning, which gives the F-22 exceptional combat performance without compromising mission range.
The F135 began its evolution in October 2001 with the original system development and demonstration contract. Its first engine test occurred two years later, with the first Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) flight in December 2006. Since then, it has effortlessly powered the ongoing flight test program. This past year alone, the F135 has accumulated 60 additional flight test hours, for a total of 164 program-to-date, and an additional 2,105 engine ground test hours. Pratt & Whitney has delivered 11 of 12 ground test engines – all five of the planned CTOL/CV configurations and six of the seven planned STOVL configurations – as well as 15 of 18 flight test engines.

Looking ahead, we’re anticipating several notable milestones on the horizon, all of which will continue to solidify Pratt’s position at the forefront of development for the next generation of fighter technology. These include first vertical flight test; the first flight of the U.S. Navy’s F-35 carrier variant; and finally, delivery of the first production F135 engines. Pratt & Whitney’s legacy is secure, while our future remains brighter than ever.

By the time the F135 enters operation in 2013, the operating fleet of F119 engines will have logged more than 500,000 flying hours. The developmental fleet of F135 engines will have logged more than 16,000 flying hours even before moving into operational status.

Pratt & Whitney is the leader for next-generation fighter engine technology, and has a proven record of developing safe, reliable and mature engines for customers around the world. We’re proud of the F119, the most powerful, safest, and dependable fighter engine ever produced, but we’ve set the bar high with its successor. When we say, “It’s in our power,” the F135 is the perfect example, as we take engine propulsion to the next level for our customers across the globe.