Defining flight

Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to define their future collaboration on the F135 propulsion system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to define their future collaboration on the F135 propulsion system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).


The agreement, signed at Pratt & Whitney’s headquarters in East Hartford, Connecticut, covers work on the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the F135 through the production and sustainment phase of the JSF program.


Under the agreement, Rolls-Royce will maintain its current lift system component responsibilities beyond System Development and Demonstration into production and sustainment.


According to a statement, the work has the potential to bring billions of dollars in new production and spare parts sales to Rolls-Royce over the life of the program. Rolls-Royce produces the LiftFan, Three Bearing Swivel Module and Roll Posts as a subcontractor to Pratt & Whitney.


In 2001, Pratt & Whitney was awarded a ten-year $4.8 billion contract for System Development and Demonstration (SDD) to develop the F135 propulsion system through flight clearance, flight test, and qualification for Low Rate Initial Production. To date, F135 ground test engines have accumulated more than 4,500 SDD test hours and the F135 will be the power for the JSF’s first flights beginning in the third quarter of 2006.

The F135 is an evolution of the F119 engine for the F-22A Raptor. Together the F135 and F119 will have logged more than one million flight hours before the F-35’s introduction into operational service in 2012.