GE Discloses F136 Test Failure

GE Discloses F136 Test Failure

Knowing that their friends at Pratt & Whitney would find out soon enough, the General Electric-Rolls Royce team announced this afternoon that one of their F136 engines had to be shut down after a problem led to airfoil damage.

Here’s what GE said in an email to reporters: “Approximately three hours into a mechanical check-out on September 23 at the GE Aviation facility in Evendale, Ohio, an F136 development engine experienced an anomaly at near maximum fan speed. Engine #008 was shut down in a controlled manner. Initial inspection revealed damage to airfoils in the front fan and compressor area. The engine is currently being disassembled for a thorough investigation.”

The companies are checking the engine’s records to see if any other problems had been spotted earlier with the engine. They say “several builds” of five development engines have been run for more than 1,000 hours “without experiencing” the problem that afflicted the shutdown engine.

Two other engines also being tested were checked  “and neither engine exhibited similar distress. Prior builds were also inspected with no findings,” the email says.

We’ll see what the coming inspections reveal.

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Wow, three hours. That can’t be good.

Remember GE is under pressure to counter Pratts F135..If we had a truely fair competition among GE/RR and P&W both companies would have time to solve any missfortunes that arise..We need two sources not one monoply..

Proof development costs of a second engine will be higher than quoted by GG/RR. Kill the alternate engine now.

Meant GE/RR

I truly feel for the engineers/test crew in the trenches working on this engine. To have this happen with such a political atmosphere going on about them has got to be tough. I work on the other side (yes I’m a shill for P&W), and when things like that happen it’s disheartening because you put all you have into trying to make the project you’re working on the best and to make any project related to this work and work well. It ain’t easy to have this happen. That said, all those folks who claim that this engine will save us money and not cost us any more than the main engine on the JSF, please even if this is a one off incident it does not bode well for those who have drank the GE/RR Koolaid.

Things like this happen and its during development where you would rather it occur and NOT when its fielded. Both engine manufacturers have dealt with failures during SDD. These are high tech machines with tolerances, speeds and temperatures well above what their legacy brotherws have experienced. Both companies live in a glass house and should NOT throw stones, because there is still much more to come for both manufacturers.

Wow, you’re on here singing a different tune. What happened to your constant F135 bashing and your “F136 is 75% done”?

GE motor takes a dump 3 hours into a functional checkout (at least the fourth anomaly in their very short test program) and you want a group hug.

Yeah, turbine engines are really hard. Thanks for the update.

You are correct that these things happen and both sides of the aisle have thrown stones. However, what you’re saying does not square with what you’ve stated in the past…specifically that this engine is going to save money due to this competition. The GE/RR boys are going to experience more of these failures simply due to what you’ve just stated, “These are high tech machines with tolerances, speeds and temperatures well above what their legacy brotherws have experienced.” Just like P&W has. The GE/RR engine is two+ yrs behind P&W’s and they’ll more then likely suffer the same path, costing us more money just the same.

This is just another example of many engine/systems/airframe technical problems associated with the JSF Program to date. Both engines have had multiple failures, and there will be more to come from both P&W and GE/RR in the future.

The only thing certain is that there will be more drama and trauma from the F-35, wither we’re talking about the price (LRIP 4), what international partners will actually buy this aircraft, or if both engines should be funded.

Arguing the pro’s and con’s of either engine ignores the elephant in the room. The F-35 is a house of cards, and when it falls the US will be left with a handful of very expensive Raptors, and a bunch of elderly legacy aircraft desperately being upgraded to stay relevant.

Don’t worry folks, Gates will be retired by then, and living the fat life in the consulting world.

If the F-35 falls then our defense system falls… we need the F-16/F/A-18 replacement so we better stop argueing over the merits of having this aircraft and get on with making it work don’t you think…

Steve and Dave K– I told you guys before that I don’t represent either company. I also told you that I have military and civilian experiences with both of these engine manufacturers (20 plus years). Additionally, I stated that my experiences have been much more enjoyable with the GE family of engines. My tune has not changed and I still believe the F136 will save the taxpayer money and with it in the game a much more reliable propulsion system for the F35 will emerge for the War Fighter. Also, do not forget that the F135 program has another F135 variant they are building and will be testing in Jan 2011. If memory serves me correctly, both of you did not agree that a design change for the current F135 was even taking place…well it is. Yes, its costing the taxpayer even more now to develop the primary engine which was suppose to be such a big cost savings because it was a variant of the F119.

Two engine makers for 3K engines vs one engine maker for the same amount, either way when in production the cost savings are meted out in the contract segment awarded and how these contracts are written the cost savings is required over the life of each segment of the contract. If they fail to comply the govt can come back and sue for that money. The difference is with one engine supplier the cost savings will be more due to the nature of an economy of scale. In the phase both sides are in now the costs are going to be high because both sides are working towards a complete final product. P&W is already at that point. The GE/RR group has access to CIP to improve their engines…they can start by fielding one first.…sure looks like they need to get to that point real quick.

Formula, You are calling out Dave K and Steve for not knowing the design changes are taking place.. yet I believe you erroneously commented that “having two engines gave our Combat Wings additional capability that one engine would not have provided during some very difficult times/missions”

my comment was related to the method the USAF uses to define requirements for their weapons system (Operational Requirements Document)… which you should be fully aware of with your “experience” at HQ ACC/F-16 SPO”… I confirmed today with some of my current contacts at ACC that the requirements established by the ORD were met by both engines.. so your comment that having both engines gave some additional capability that was lacking is not consistant with the weapons system.… and as such the same holds true with the F-35..
Read more: http://​www​.dodbuzz​.com/​2​0​1​0​/​0​9​/​2​3​/​u​k​-​m​o​d​-​l​e​t​t​e​r-s

Having read the argument for either engine, I wonder how much thought has been put into mean time failure on a single engine airframe. One engine failure in the F35 ( for either engine ) and 150 plus mil airplane is in the drink or garbage dump.

I would like someone to please tell me why the Navy/USAF went with a program of a single engine aircraft anyway — and I could care less which engine is used. The Russians sure are not. I don’t know how many times a plane got home to the farm because it had two engines. When you push the limits on new engines/airfraames — esp new ones — things happen. Not sure this F35 is ready for fleet pilots TRUST just yet. Right now I don’t think LockMart can provide that comfort either. How many F18’s / F16s ( the F16 engine works I know) can you buy for one F35. Lots. Overwhelm the enemy with numbers and airplanes that can come home. Continue work on the F35 as an R & D effort but don’t rely on it — just not ready to risk a life in it yet. We don’t need the A/C right now but maybe in the future. Old Dutch proverb — Faster you go the behinder you get! Think we are pushing too hard on the F35. Personal opinion.

Charlie… The USAF has a very successful risk management program which is based on not only ensuring the risk to the aircraft (.5 loss of aircraft in 188 thosamd flying hours but also the risk of a non recoverable shutdown .05 per 188K flying his… The Navy operates similar risk manahement… I would not be concerned with a single engine risk…

No, if the F-35 fails, we go back to building enough Raptors, and develop other aircraft that work as advertised, and that this country can actually afford.

Quoting statistics and talking about acceptable risks will be cold comfort to the USN pilot over water who loses their one and only engine. I like how the Navy which has championed over the years two engined fighters, is now forced to take a single engine fighter which continues to have problems with engines.

Additionally, both the F135 and the F136 are completely different power plants then the legacy fighters presently in service and applying present risk management practices is of questionable value.

There’s a two engined fighter that’s reliable with a real price tag, its called the Super Hornet.

We can argue all we want with statistics and what-ifs. Plain and simple, pratt wants to eat the whole cake and gates has this “goal” of saving 100mil in 5 years. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

This is pure dirty politics and has NOTHING to do with competition. It’s about money and who can lobby the hardest. You are a FOOL if you think this is anything other than that. I find it extremely ironic how we are arguing this 2billion dollar issue to the teeth at the same time we spent 2 TRILLION on a stimulus that did nothing.

not qutoing statistics! educating on that under AFI 21–104 it is a requirement that if you bust that safety threshold the USAF/Navy drives you to mitigate/fix it and the funding process is based around supporting it… and actually for risk under that threshold you have to actively monitor it… the other piece that I did not mention is the changes in technology that is not being spoken of… engineering, material, cooling technologies, the digital controls and the associated trending programs, tied in with the “Usage based lifing” models make the single engine fighter the safest in history… and I recognize that without being full immersed in these programs it is easy to play to to the fears of the un-educated but that is really what you’re doing and frankly it is a baseless arguement… if the DOD engineering community did not believe it could rely on a single engine fighter we would not be going down this path

Brain, Mind the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves is likely an approriate response… I only believe it is “dirty politics” when the issue comes out of the DOD hands and ends up in congress. Anyone in these programs knows that the DOD is not a supporter of one OEM over the other… and really the OEMs really should stay out of this… but if one is in it for sure the other will be… that being said… currently the DOD , the President, and the SASC supports funding 1 engine and saving the money being put towards th eother… so if there are any “dirty politics” it stands to reason that it is in the HASC who is pushing back… BTW.. whose leaders are from the GE/RR districts… hmmmm…

It will just be interesting to note if after gates retires he ends up landing a cooshie job consulting for pratt…

Thats what I meant about dirty politics. There is also evidence out there that pratt funds cagw…look it up. If boehner has anything to do with it its defending ge.

BTW, Cocidius, single engine fighter is no new to the US Navy, they flew the A-4 Skyhawk with its single engine J-52 off the carriers in Vietnam… and that had 50-60s technology…

There WAS a competition, get over it already.

That is why SPARE engines are procured with each production lot.

Single engine aircraft are smaller, lighter, less expensive (to procure & operate) that multiple engine aircraft. Infact throughout history, with a few exceptions THE reason why multiple engies are every used is when a single engine does not provide sufficient power. AND even with multiple engined aircraft fewer engines are used — see how the vast majority of airliners (all the way up to the 775,000 lbs MTOW 777-300ER) use two engines rather than four.

Try talking to a pilot!

Full rate production F-35s will cost about the same as a new F-16 or F/A-18.

We needed the F-35 YEARS ago! We ALREADY have a ‘fighter gap’ in BOTH the USAF & USN due to it not being in full rate production yet.

For every twin engined combat aircrat that has every flown from as US carrier there has been three single engined combat aircraft.

Formula, I agree with you and I am in the same boat you are. I have over 15 years of jet engine test experience with both manufacturers, especially when it comes to the F100, F110, and I have tested both the TF-30 and F110-400. From this experience I KNOW that competition is the only thing that keeps both of these companies at least half way honest. Once the F-135 is fielded, I will be testing that too and I am NOT looking forward to working with P&W because I KNOW that they will be very difficult to work with. At least GE gives you any information that you need or ask for. Don’t worry about some of these posts or replies, most either work for P&W or they are wannabees that live at home with Mommy and sit in the basement at their computer all day.

Prejudices aside…you sound like a whiny b!%*h…both of you need to get over yourself promotion and get a freakin’ life!

We do have a life Knucklehead, and we are simply expressing our REAL world experience on this subject. Just because you cannot offer any constructive reasonable arguments for or against this subject, you need to quit being jealous and get out of your mommy’s basement and get a freakin’ life!

Your name fits you perfectly. This site is way above your head “Ditchdigger”.

JetRep: I don’t think you understood what I said. I know what the ORD is and both engines did meet the spec “requirements”. However, during war in both Desert Storm and Desert Shield having two different propulsion systems came in handy during combat planning where certain Block F16’s were used in theater for combat and “other” Blocks were retained for domestic/local missions. I’ll let you figure out which blocks were in combat.…again, the two engine types did provide our commanders flexibility.

Negatory JetRep. Actually, our analysis at both the HQ ACC and HQ USAF showed a significant difference in TCTO, Scheduled and Unscheduled maintenance for the two series of engines. Granted, one engine was modular and the other used a SRU concept, but the cost per flying hour difference was significant in favor of GE. I would not agree that TCTO and/or CIP activities were delayed do to having two engine configurations. I firmly believe the F16 has the success that it enjoys today because we have two different engines that power them.

Formula, My point is, realting to the ORD/spec, with either engine meeting the spec it would not have mattered if you had one engine, the other engine, or both engines as the fleet… as they both would have worked for what was done… and I am not sure where you get your information from on who was flying where.. but you might want to check with the Swamp Foxes at McEntire as I know where they were.. in the middle of Bagdad in the middle of it… “The 157th Fighter Squadron was one of only two ANG F-16 units to participate in Desert Storm. The F16A’s of the South Carolina Air National Guard played a crucial role in the devastating allied air offensive. For example, on 5 February 1991, on day 20 of the air offensive, “Swamp Fox” F16A fighters left Al Kharj Air Base, Saudi Arabia with some of the F16’s armed with “Maverick” air-to-ground missiles designed to destroy pinpointed targets… http://​www​.globalsecurity​.org/​m​i​l​i​t​a​r​y​/​a​g​e​n​c​y​/​usa… ”

Aww…looks like I hit a nerve!

Utter BS.

Having “two different propulsion systems” has been the exact OPPOSITE of handy. It has been the CAUSE of many headaches, sleepless nights & SNAFUs.

Agree pfcem.. outside the ORD/Spec requirements is the reality.. and the reality of having to manage the dual logisitics paths.. and the rotations of the same aircraft with a different propulsion system was the cause of many headaches and sleepless nights, and SNAFUs…

I was reminded today that Shaw AFB was the first responder to the invasion of Kuwait… flying F100-PW-200s… Formula your credibility is really in the dumpster… and so it would seem that your bias for the alternate engine has clouded your memory…

TJ, While I cannot explain your experiences with the contractors I do have to suggest that 15 years of being burried in a test cell cannot qualify you to be such an expert in the whole procurement process to make such a broad statement such as this… “From this experience I KNOW that competition is the only thing that keeps both of these companies at least half way honest” …

Real world “opinion” you’ve been sputtering about this engine for months and all you’ve proven is that you’ve got an opinion and nothing more. Zero fact. Why should I bother countering what opinion you’ve spouted with fact when you’ve got no facts yourself!

You’re right, all he offers is personal bias and zero fact.

Additionally, I believe if you truly understood the Military procurement process you would understand how ludicris it is to define this process as a real competition… but for the uneducated Loren Thompson wrote a piece in Forbes Mag on line that gives some insight… I have included some of the comments below the link

In classic economics the benefits of competition are clear enough, but
> in the monopsony that is the military marketplace the government must
> pay all the costs for sustaining competition. The upfront costs to
> qualify two suppliers of any military item are so imposing that the
> business case for competition seldom closes even over a multi-decade
> service life. That’s why no other part of the F-35, like the radar or
> the landing gear, has been competed since Lockheed Martin’s design for
> the plane won early in the decade. It’s also the reason why no other
> U.S. military plane developed in the last quarter-century has had
> competing engines.

YGTBSM… the F110 SLEP cost is/was half a Billion dollars… and I am aware that there are CIP tasks on the F100 side that are currently un-funded as well as TCTOs that are not being incorprated due to funding… if they had that half a billion dollars that would likely fund all those tasks plus…

and I can cite the same information on the F110.. currently that SLEP is behind the curve due to funding that if they were not funding changes on the F100 side the F110 would for sure not be double behind in their incorpration… so your logic just does not hold water…

WOW! Everybody on here just talks about the engines (IRON) but forgets that sustainment of two engines is more costly than the engines over time. Imagine running two supply chains, two depots, two sets of tech orders, proprietary data concerns and protections, two integrated IT systems and I can go on for an hour. Just building an engine is not nearly the complete picture. When you add the complicated sustainment system into the equation the costs soar!

Amazing! This is just a comment section for this article, that means that people are free to give their opinions. After reading these comments, I’ll take TJ’s real world experience over your desk jockey opinions. Sorry not trying to be rude, but all I can figure from your comments is that you either sit behind a desk and procure things or you do a lot of googleing. You are looking at this in strictly dollars as the cost. There is another cost you seem to be overlooking though, that is the cost in the life of the pilot, which you cannot put a dollar amount on. Since TJ has worked with both companies and sees the actual performance characteristics of both and how they are built, he would have more room to be skeptical of one or the other company. I believe that he is arguing that you don’t give either company a monopoly for the engine. I agree with him on that.

Real world experience beats “facts” from a book or a company’s advertising department. He’s offered a hell of a lot more than you have. All you have been doing is sniping just to irritate people.

This wouldn’t happen to be the same Loren Thompson who is funded by P&W would it?

GE has a monopoly on the F-18, the Blackhawk helicopter, and numerous other planes, but that’s okay with you??

F-18 and Blackhawk won’t end up being 90% of our combat aircraft in the coming years.

No, and neither will this one, the unmanned planes will be however.


Jarhead, You are off the mark sir… his experience, while extremely useful in troubleshooting and repairing jet propulsion does not make him an expert in the procurement process such that he is qualified to make the statement he did… The DOD/USAF wants full control of their assets and therefore fully funds changes to these propulsion systems… therefore, as Loren Thomson so aptly stated in his Forbes column there really is not a “competition… rather the government dictates what goes into these engines… a real competition is like GM and Ford… where they decide what goes into their automobiles… and they pay for it up front in the hopes that on the backside a customer will pay for it… a far cry from what is going on here…

No we won’t, the price to produce more Raptor’s will be greater than previous,. Just imagine, LM wins regardless.….

F-8 and A-7 also.…

You know, it is interesting that the GE/RR offering is not a complete engine, it is a power module and Fan module, the exhaust system is provided by the other guys for the A and C models, and the B model get the swivel exhaust from from them but through RR.… never see this mentioned in all thsi conversations.…


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