F136 Climbs Back on Test Stand

F136 Climbs Back on Test Stand

UPDATED: With congressional comment

Testing of the second engine for the Joint Strike Fighter restarted Friday and GE claims that the several months of delay resulted in “minimal” cost increases.

“Delay costs were minimal — there has been no re-programming of the F136, and we’re on cost,” said GE spokesman Rick Kennedy. “We are eager to accumulate test hours in 2010, and we plan to make that up with several engines running this year.”


A congressional aide said the GE/Rolls Royce team had one what it needed to do: “It is important that they said they would restart in January and they managed to do so, unlike some other aspects of the program, like first vertical landing that has gone from June 09 to Sept 09, to October, to November, to January to… ???”

The engine on stand is #06. Kennedy said that “the rebuilds on engines #05 and #04 (which both ran last year) are being finalized to run by mid-year.” Buzz readers will remember the basic problem GE and Rolls Royce faced was a lug nut that failed and needed redesigning.

Kennedy said the engine is performing within expected parameters. “The best thing — the engine is running (in terms of vibration, fuel burn, thrust, etc.) as anticipated. Naturally, no one likes development issues, but you really don’t want performance shortfalls. As you hear around the test cell: ‘This engine wants to run.’”

The engine will have to run as it probably faces another challenging year — hasn’t every year been challenging — since the Obama administration is almost certain to leave funding for the engine out of its defense budget due out on Monday.

Of course, Congress has stuffed money for the engine back into the budget every year and nothing fundamental has changed on the Hill.
The congressional aide elaborated. “Congress has supported the alternate engine for four years without SECDEF support -– I didn’t say without Pentagon support because all the non-politicos involved in the program do, but can’t say publicly, support a competitive engine program. Staff will continue to recommend to members that they support the program. The Gates/White House argument that a cut/delay of two aircraft last year to help fund the program ‘severely disrupted’ the program doesn’t fly well when their budget supposedly cuts/delays 122 aircraft because of program problems,” the aide said in an email.

And, after all, November is a long ways away.…

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Congress has to support it. It is in the memorandum of agreement for all JSF partners. Including the update to that memorandum done in late 2009.

“6.2.2 The Participants may designate the F135, the F136, or both in their PPRs in such quantities and in accordance with such delivery schedules as they require.”

It has been advertised to ALL JSF partner nations as value-added for decisions to go with the aircraft.

Gates and Obama and friends can cancel the engine for any other reason they want. However, not bringing up the facts above because these two are so poorly advised on the issue is the same as misleading the American public.

The language is forward looking in the fact that there “may” be two engines offered and the countries buying it “may” buy either one or both. That language is not infer a contractual requirement that both be supported. Only that if both go forward that both “may” be offered. And also, contract language can be changed at any time if the alternate engine is killed.

even if the project for the f-35s fail at least you have an awsome engine for use elsewhere

With the F-35 facing it’s first assaults from those seeking to kill it, perhaps it would be best to cancel the F136 and invest that money in JSF work itself. However if GE continues in-house work on the engine the services should consider buying F136s for a portion of the F-35 fleet.

It is key the F-35 is bought in bulk, insuring the numbers don’t get dwindled down is key to the future of the USAF as they have very limited alternatives. The USMC needs a AV-8B Harrier II replacement as well and there are simply no other STOVL aircraft that can do this. Upgraded Harriers are out of the picture seeing that the aircraft is no longer in production.

And speaking of STOVL, since the continuing weight issues with the JSF will most impact the F-35B, would it not be advisable to keep all options on the table until there’s been enough flight testing to know if we might need the F136? Also, the UK is supposed to be our largest partner in this program, so it seems sensible to let GE/Rolls Royce at least have a chance for a slice of the pie.

They already do if either engine gets it, it’s called the 3BSM, Lift Fan and roll posts.

First, if the second engine (F-136) is killed by the administration, no money is saved. Since they didn’t budget for it, there is no money to be shifted back to the F-135 or any other JSF development effort.

Second, I’m a proponent of dual sourcing (whether for the engine or the whole aircraft) because it saves very big bucks for use taxpayers. Or which could be used to accelerate the production schedule.

Third, what I see as a major cultural problem with DoD and industry management is that they need to work engineering issues hard. That is, national defense is not a 1–8-5 (1 shift, 8 hours, 5 day) job. If you get behind, do whatever it takes to re-engineer and fix the problem, retest, and get on with the schedule. It may cost more money now, but that is less than the increased costs of drawing the schedule out. And if current management isn’t willing to make the effort, a few people need to be fired.

In other words, our industry needs to be like our combat forces. Determined, lean and smart.

Oh yea, screw all the stuff we need like reliable rifles and pour all our money into more overreaching technology.

Actually, ctr, having been the money guy at the top end of the Navy and Marine Corps weapons (missiles, torpedoes, ship guns, small arms, and aircraft, ship and ground ammuntion) chain of command for five years, I like and continually supported buying more of that stuff that wins wars (which is the stuff the grunts use to win the war and preserve the peace). But still, when we do design, develop and buy big toys, once we have set out the worst case development process and schedule, the managers and engineers should work the problems as if their lives depended on it. But a problem in the Pentagon is the proclivity to want the high priced, tough to do, cutting edge technology when just a lower cost new version of the same old thing might work just as well given the competition.

Easy answer, not cost effective. Long answer. F-14 no longer in service. Would not fit in an F-16 as it a considerably bigger motor. Also, the F-16 has a tiny fuel load and this motor would suck it dry in short order. As for the F-15, they might fit, but considering airframe hours(16 included) not a reasonable. Let’s not forget the R&D and flight testing required to bring to production. To many variables and costs to overcome. To bad we’re not on Overhaulin!!

Hi , What is the thrust range of the F-136 ? and how does it weigh ?

Craig

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