Report: Engine Responsible for F-35 Fire

Report: Engine Responsible for F-35 Fire

A problem with Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine caused the F-35 fire on June 23 that triggered a fleet-wide grounding of the fighter jet, according to a report by USNI News.

An engine malfunction was assumed to be the culprit, given how the blaze started in the rear of the plane. But the article is the first to peg the propulsion system’s after-burning turbofan — not necessarily the integrated power pack — to the incident.

The fire occurred in an F-35A Lightning II as the pilot was attempting to take off from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The F-35A is the Air Force’s version of the jet designed to take off and land on conventional runways. While the pilot was able to power down and safely escape the fifth-generation stealth fighter, the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made aircraft was significantly damaged.

Indeed, the incident appears to be far more serious than originally thought and may cause Defense Department officials to cancel the jet’s international debut in coming days in the United Kingdom.

Three F-35Bs, the Marine Corps’ version of the plane designed to fly like a plane and land like a helicopter, were to be displayed at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford, which runs July 9–14.

More importantly, the aircraft were scheduled to fly at the Farnborough International Airshow outside London, which runs July 14–20. The show was not only to be the F-35’s first international flight, but also a high-profile opportunity for U.S. leaders to drum up support for the aircraft among NATO allies.

Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman at the Pentagon, on Monday said officials haven’t yet decided whether they will send the planes overseas for the shows.

The Defense Department officially announced the fleet-wide grounding of the aircraft late in the day on July 3 — hours after many politicians and journalists had left town for the Fourth of July holiday and days after the Air Force and other services decided to halt flights of the aircraft while investigators tried to determine what caused the fire.

The announcement also said a decision as to whether to fly the planes to England would have to be made early this week, but didn’t specify a deadline.

After the fire, Pratt & Whitney, part of Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp., issued a statement saying the company would cooperate with the Joint Strike Fighter program office to identify the root cause. The company hasn’t issued another statement since and a spokesman directed queries to military spokesmen at Eglin.

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Restart GE’s F136. Competition provides useful motivations.

A fire is a more useful motivator.

Time to walk away from the Money pit and go with a proven F-15 SE, Block 60 F-16, Advance super Hornet and time to update the harrier design as well

Government Motors has just finished recalling a few million vehicles. They are paying for those repairs and a fund for the defective ignition switch. Will Pratt & Whitney offer to pay for airframe damage and lost time during the grounding or just stick there hands in their pockets, and turn away whistling “We’re in the money”?

I think its a sign when the planes would rather self-immolate rather than fly. How about we cancel the program outright and send the existing F35s to ISIS, um Iraq, and put the F16s that are now on ‘hold’ into service instead?

GE needs to runs a Washington Post full page asking why the F136 was cancelled, asking to reopen an investigation by the AG into the sole source decision.

“Three F-35Bs, the Marine Corps’ version of the plane designed to fly like a plane and land like a helicopter”

Oh, yeah, “land like a helicopter”. This business again.

I’ve looked and looked and no matter how long I look, I can’t find any helicopters that land by balancing on top of a shrieking supersonic ultrahot exhaust plume that easily spalls reinforced concrete and chews up armored steel decking.

I must just not be looking hard enough. Help me out here.

Ever seen a Harrier land? Just change out helicopter for Harrier.

Well, I suppose we’ll see a press campaign by GE in the coming months. Despite massive leaps in reliability since the first turbojets things still occasionally go wrong regardless of manufacturer.

Funny how people are pointing at the F-35 like somehow the plane decided to light the engine on fire.

Yes give the Iraqis an ultra-modern fighter they’ll either fly to Iran or into the ground, it makes perfect sense, because obviously the software in the F-35 decided to cause this malfunction.

“Engine Responsible for F-35 Fire“
cows are responsible for manure
pigs are responsible for pig s h i t (opps, we’re not supposed to insult the mighty JSF are we)

We need new aircraft not upgrades of 30+ year old designs, and you don’t even mention the F-22 which puts these others to shame when it comes to air-to-air combat.

Too late for that

Government Motors is back to GM, all stock held by the government was sold at the end of last year.

The Air Force loves slogans. How about instead of “Air Superiority Fighter” we change it to “Air Inflammatory Fighter” — the plane that defeats its adversaries by falling out of the sky in flames on top of them.

The harrier is smaller, lighter and higher bypass meaning cooler rear exhaust. Much less damage, and not THAT much less combat load either given the bloated hoggishness of the F35.

“We need new aircraft”

We need new aircraft that actually work. That attain their design goals and that are affordable.

Unfortunately, the “new aircraft” on offer in the F-35 has turned out to be unreliable and astronomically expensive to procure. Also, unable to hit a long list of Key Performance Parameters, and vulnerable to several different rapidly evolving adversary weapons systems.

So it’s now clear that what is needed are “new aircraft”, new aircraft that are not the fatally flawed F-35. It will take several critical years to get a replacement program spun up. (Or programs, plural.)

During that window of cancelling and replacing F-35, wisely engineered upgrades and extensions of “30+ year old designs” will fill the gap. They will have to. The F-35 program is a bust.

The Harrier easily operates in V/STOL mode from a long list of ships and airfields which are entirely unable to accept the F-35B in V/STOL mode. The lift systems of the two jets are fundamentally very different. F-35B downwash is far more mechanically and thermally intense.

Note the article’s assertion that the F-35B had been scheduled for display “at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford”. A key point is that the F-35B was _not_ going to be doing any V/STOL flight demos there. Because the airfield surfaces at Fairford, which can comfortably handle Harrier ops, cannot cope with the beating which the F-35B imposes.

The government lost roughly $11B on selling its GM stock, lost another $18B in tax breaks given as part of the bailout, and lost another $26B in payouts to the autoworkers’ union VEBA benefit fund.

So, about fifty-five billion bucks. To “rescue” an inept, senile, shrinking company from itself. A company in an industrial sector rife with endemic overcapacity and doomed to low margins. New GM is not exactly setting the world on fire sales-wise, and it continues to see erosion of market share, and its dangerous product defect problems are making headlines every week. Brilliant! A triumph!

(My favorite New GM story: the frantic effort to track down a bunch of Chevy Sonics that were shipped to car dealers _without front brake pads installed_. As the old slogan has it, “Nobody sweats the details like GM.”)

There’s a lesson here in how terribly unwise it is to hand technically and economically illiterate politicians a blank checkbook on the public dime, and let them start making industrial policy. That lesson carries over to military procurement as well.

You can’t decouple this engine from this jet. The F135 is pretty much _sui generis_ to the F-35.

The F135 engine was profoundly influenced in its design and operating characteristics by specific F-35 engineering constraints and demands. Not least that it is a very hot runner of a motor. Heat does have something to do with fires starting, I have been informed.

While it is common for engine types to be shared across entirely different aircraft from different manufacturers, no engineer in their right mind would ever spec an F135 motor for any application other than an F-35 jet. Because, for example, the F135 is quite heavy relative to its power output. Weight still matters in aviation and especially so in air-combat military aviation. And it’s expensive.

the GE F136 development is about 80% complete and GE offered to self-fund the remaining development costs but the government shut the door so hard that GE decided the cost was not likely to be recouped. GE re-tasked all their engineers and supply chain activities in 2011 to its commercial engines (where customers actually make predictable and rational decisions). I’m sure GE would happily restart the F136 program ($$) but it’s not likely the government is going to eat any crow and come asking.
Totally agree that competition drives higher quality/performance and lower costs but remember the political climate at that time…the Tea Party swept the 2010 mid-terms and anything that even resembled a poster child for waste got hammered. The F136 was doomed the instant GE let Pratt label it the “second” engine.

Well, that’ll kill the export market for the –B, especially for nations with ships that are presently handling Harriers. The export market is a bunch of tightwads, they’ll probably keep their Harriers trucking, or buy Mig-29K.

Here are the REAL air force slogans that we all know so well

“Aim low-join the air force“
“No one comes close-to air force stupid“
“We do the impossible — we are stupid everyday“
“Above All-because we know best”

The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire! We don’t need no water, let the mother****er burn!

Song popped into my head and I started singing it for some reason.

Torquewrench is the one on fire today.
Go man, go.

One more example of how we can be penny wise and pound foolish.

Except that he is wrong. The F135 is derived from the F119 and common wisdom during much of the JSF program was that the F136 was the only engine with enough flexibility to actually perform all the tasks required for the various models of the F-35. Given the costs incurred and the fact that the F135 is still bursting into flames, that common wisdom may still be right.

Well Mr. Palmer, if you’re out there reading this, it seems your admonition in a previous F-35 article, where you cautioned authors that using the term ‘5th generation fighter’ in connection with F-35 might risk their credibility, must have fallen on deaf ears within the dodbuzz​.com author’s lounge. Here we have yet another example in this article. How disappointing they continue to propagate the myth, to the benefit of LockMart.

Maybe if GE agreed to finish development of the F136 engine, but required no profit on top of their expenses, this would entice the government to reinstate the program. (Plus it would make Dfens happy.)

the deal GE originally offered, completely self-fund the remaining development, was turned down by the government. There was no guarantee of profit with that deal but it was nevertheless turned down. The DoD wasn’t even going to allow GE to use the government-owned tooling at the private machine shops to continue so GE was basically shown the door in early 2011. Most of the tooling and WIP (work-in-progress) was scrapped although there were a few working prototype engines being ground tested. Even if the F136 magically got funding (from anywhere) it would be several years until there was a viable competitor to the F135. This ship has sailed.

Nothing to do with Tea Party. The decision to Sole-Source the enginewsa a person decision of SECDEF Gates that went against the recommendations of the F-35 Program Office and that of the SECDEF’s own staff. Gates ended up firing the F-35 PEO over this issue.

I respect Robert Gates for a lot of things and do not think that he did this for personal gain but he made a terrible call here. Other airplanes like F-18 and F-16 have dual sourced engines in the past.

PROVEN F-15 SE? show me how it is proven. How many have been built and tested? Who is flying them.

Wow, a “long list of missed KPPs”. Please share the long list and be specific.

You might wat to rethnk your comment on combat load. Are you aware of the Harrier’s combat load and range restrictions when doing VTOL?

Sometime I wonder whether or not the goal was to reduce the amount of certification required; to simplify things.

Bad idea

F135 promised to be flexible enough, and still will be, advantages of the F136 were argued to be in cost savings via competition and an alternative in case of problems. Really it was about preventing the sort of scenario that occurred with the F100 and the F-16.

Of course judging from the reactions to this engine fire you’d think the F100 never had any problems in its early years.

Remember when they determined a loaded F-35B needed a few more meters to take-off? I think that is the entirety of that “long list.”

Don’t think they will keep their Harriers flying as the USMC bought most of the foreign fleets a few years back to cannabalize and keep their fleet serving for hopefully many more years.

FYI, we do not need “new aircraft,” we need a reliable combat aircraft that meets the strategic needs of the U.S. national security. F-22 is nothing but a money pit that the military did not even try using in the current conflict, why?

And aircraft that are too vulnerable to the latest SAM systems don’t meet our strategic needs. Why the F-22 has not been used in the current conflict? Perhaps because Al Qaeda doesn’t have an air force for the F-22 to shoot down? Or should we waste flight hours on that limited number of airframes doing what other aircraft already in theater can do by lobbing JDAMs?

They only bought out British stocks. Spain and Italy and other countries continue to fly the Harrier.

Yes, but the Harrier takes off 95% of the time via ski jump or short takeoff, not vertically. The F-35 on the amphibs on the other hand won’t have that option a lot of the time due to amphibs being designed with helos in mind and the larger size of the F-35. VTOL F-35 carries a pittance compared to conventional takeoff.

The F-18, like most military jets, does not have dual sourced engines.

Thats not how it worked.  The newGMCo ‘bought’ the  assets ( excl liabilities) of the bankrupt old GM. That  NewGM was a consortium of the Federal Government, Ontario Government and  the GM VEBA. That how  the union  veba ended up with the stock. It wasnt given to them ahead of other creditors.They were just in a  stronger position by joining the government in the ‘buyout’ of the old  GM assets. The secured bond holders got their full value of their collateral, they were not allways  fully secured. Tough. But thats politics, the strong trump the weak.BTW  thats not uncommon even in small bankruptcies,  buy  back the assets and stiff the creditors when you have  those in charge of the bankruptcy on your side​.As for stupid things big companies do for the Sonic brakepads, thats a pretty hefty book, as well know we  arent perfect.

>We need new aircraft not upgrades of 30+ year old designs .….….….….

I’m not an aeronautic engineer but here is how I see it. Aerodynamic law had not changed since; the only thing that have improved are more precise modelling and material. Since then I am not aware of anything new in regard to fighter jet beside stealth, but that’s already 30+ year old stuff.

This is a complete aberration to go all-in in the f-35’s way, because it’s all new. As I posted elsewhere technology hasn’t stopped to evolve and carbon nanotube stealth paint may change the odds, and it’s only a matter of time before something new come out. Concerning the f-35 technology hasn’t stopped to evolve during its conception, and will definitely evolve during the next 50 years.

My point is that unless we are talking of a game changer discovery –by game changer I am talking about something like quantum computing– advent in new material, like organic semiconductor are still semiconductor but made of a different material, with different properties. Law of aerodynamic did not changed because of a different wing angle or an unstable design, last time it did was when we went supersonic, which was long ago…

To further prove my point, the B-2 was a recycled design, conceived by Northrop himself, the YB-49. Advent of computer make it air-worthy, advent in material make it what it is now.

That is, there is nothing wrong with “old” design that have been proven to work. All I see is a foundation of the future.

Something else you read on the internet?

To make a comparison the all-in strategy with a 50 years time frame look like this.

You need a computer to solve an ongoing problem that you expect to last 40 years (think at something like humain genome). Lets assume that computing power double every 2–3 years. Following the f-35’s strategy you would take all your resources to buy the next year computer and use it for the next 50 years to come, and then buy a new batch.

Whereas, by acknowledging that technology is in constant evolution you make an acquisition budget that is sustainable in the long term. You end up buying new hardware when its affordable and mass produced, and retire hardware when it became obsolete and cheaper to get rid of. To keep thing in perspective, my 4 years old computer is more powerful than a mid 90s supercomputer and is thousands of time cheaper; you cellphone is significantly more powerful than the first pentium and run out of a battery.

Don’t get me wrong, my comparison is oversimplified to catch all the complexity involved with military procurement, but make sense when compared to a mega-project that is expected to replace everything and keep flying until the middle of the century, until it got replaced by a new mega project.

Simply said this is dumb.

All aircraft have engine fires but not all aircraft have safety features removed to prevent and slow the spread of fire. The F-35 philosophy is you will never take any damage because you will never fight.

The only way the F-35 is going to contribute to Americas security is if our enemies copy it.

It seems that the F-22 was intended to be used i Libya, but as F-22 can’t talk to others then F-22s it was canceled. Reference: Check 6 Podcast, http://​aviationweek​.com/​p​o​d​c​ast and the 3 July 2014: The F-35 Goes International

So typical of the politics surrounding this white elephant. They had already grounded the aircraft “unofficially” days prior but didn’t make any announcement about it until late in the day on July 3rd once most “important” people had already left the office so that it couldn’t be a big story just before the 4th. Time to pull the plug on this monster. Take everything new that has been shown to work so far, strip it out and put it into existing airframes or have a competition for a new airframe that would incorporate these advances but not try to go that bridge too far like the F-35 is doing.

Kill the non productive beasty and by the AF-18 E/F/G.

OK, I’ll bite on this one item. You say “Only a few more meters”, as if it was only a suggestion anyway. Well, the length of the deck of the ship is not a few more meters long. Either the ship has to steam faster, or fuel/weapons have to be unloaded to get airborne with the proper safety margins, or the specification was overly demanding in the first place. I think the pressure to revise the spec to the drop dead levels has been acute and the specs now are hard and fast. Consequently, every extra meter means off loading fuel to get it back to the available takeoff length. Off loading fuel means the spec range will not be met with the spec payload. Get it? It’s a cascade.

500 million!!! Thats’s all it would have cost to have the F136 option. Ohh history. Let’s hope this time it’s not forgotten. Those that killed the F136 should be brought up to answer for this (POTUS, Leibermen, and McCain). This is absolute garbage! It’s the F-14 and F-16 fiasco all over again!

This has nothing to do with Lockheed. They didn’t build the engine. Pratt and Whitney makes garbage engines. Keep the politicians out of the acquisition phase.

I have been keeping track of the things that matter to me with my own calculations for a few years. The items of most concern were F-35B bringback weight and F-35C transonic acceleration. I know you probably have faith in the official performance press releases, and are not inclined to believe anonymous internet bloggers calculations for what seems to be an impossible task. Therefore, I offer a quote from an official DOD source :

“The program announced an intention to change
performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn
performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending
the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by
8 seconds. These changes were due to the results of air
vehicle performance and flying qualities evaluations.”

I guess I’m correct in assuming at least two more items on the list?

Secretaries of Defense don’t hold purse strings. The F136 was killed by a vote (thanks congressmen Lieberman and McCain), with threat of veto from the POTUS (Obama).

The F136 was also more powerful and more fuel efficient. Considering speed and legs are often an F-35 critique, the F136 would have been an excellent alternative.

“Preventing the sort of scenario that occurred with the F100 and the F-16″

which in turn was an attempt to prevent a repeat of the F-14 fiasco. Engine competition reduces risk and therefore cost. History proves that. It’s basically insurance for a design.

Furthermore, an alternative engine was an agreed requirement in the Memorandum of Understanding for the international partners. No wonder so many back out.

Obvious to anyone with common sense, our enemies would love us to cancel this plane. They are busy getting the bugs out of their own stealth fighters. Machines can be designed on a computer but testing is always necessary to find the unforeseen problems. Just like the Osprey was said by the professional critics to be fatally flawed during development and is now one of our most useful and innovative planes.

Gates did have an irrational axe to grind with the F136 but congress was the one who decided not to fund it and congress had the power to fund it over Gates’ objections if they so wished. You are correct in pointing out the F-16 (F101 engine) as a successful dual-sourced engine program which was known as the great Engine Wars between GE and Pratt. That example was actually used in GE’s pitch as to why having 2 competing sources is a net benefit. If nothing else, only 50% of the aircraft would be grounded right now.

you mean cancel the PIG and not spend the ENTIRE defense budge on something that doesn’t work?

you mean cancel the joint flaming fighter so that our enemies will stop laughing at us?

you mean cancel the PIG so that we can stop putting ALL OF OUR TAXES on platforms and not payloads?

you mean fire Lockhead Martin and throw all of those crooks in jail?

you mean stop the madness that’s been going on for !7 YEARS but will continues for at least another TEN

you mean stop the never ending BLACKHOLE of a program that has no end and no limit to the amt of taxes if will consume

we’ll all sure that what you really meant to say mr common sense

Lets keep the f,.-18. Flying, but the STF must fly also,!

The specs changed in that case weren’t actual KPPs. The only change I know of that involved a KPP being revised was that change to STOVL take off distance.

And here I thought that we were at the “production” phase rather than the design and test…

I understand the concept, but there was still a significant margin of space to work with given the deck length of an LHD/LHA and it really wasn’t an example of the sky falling in the end.

Not very familiar with the F35 technology management plan are you? There is absolutely no chance that the electronic components and technology available for the first productoin year will be available throughout the life of the program because most electronic components go into and out of production in a few years. The underlying technology plan for F35 is to do a component redesign/refresh at approx 10 yr increments so the systems in year 11 will be much more updated than the earlier versions. This will include the computing devices as well.

So all of those flameouts on the early F100s never happened? Nor the times when they couldn’t build enough of them and there were a sizeable number of new F-15s lacking engines on the tarmac?

Or are you talking about this idea that the F135 isn’t flexible enough? Is this due to some preference for GE or some other reason?

VTOL AV8 also carries a pittance when it is also operated from Amphibs. The AV8 VTOL load is almost non-existant and that is with an EXTREMELY LOW fuel load. The F35 will also be able to use ski jump takeoffs on ships that have them just like the AV8 as well as STOL takeoffs ashore and on bigger flight decks.

Wha are the “So Many” who have backed out? Are these countries that signed the F35 agreement or are you talking about others who considered it for a few minutes.

Actually, SECDEFs control the budget that is submitted to Congress as well as the messaging of the DoD people during Congressional hearings. Yes, the Congress and President approve the final budget but Gates pulled the strings on this one.

Where have you read that the F136 is more powerful and fuel efficient? I thought the targets were the same although both companies have stated there is room for improvement.

The F-14 really should have gotten better engines to replace the TF-30s long before it actually did. I’m sure the F401 that was originally planned would have had many of the same problems that the F100 encountered but those would have been worked out eventually. The relatively trouble-free F110 could also have been selected long before it actually was.

That would seem to me as the prudent thing to do

Defense budget for this year was something in the range of $550 billion and something a bit less than $6 billion was allocated for F-35s? Seems quite far away from being the “entire” defense budget, and this is after all of that sequestration nonsense.

And how are all of our taxes going towards this again? Also who is going to buy up all of Lockheed’s Martin stuff and what will keep them from becoming a monopoly?

I guess some people don’t understand turbine engines. I have been around them since 1956 and disassembled, built them back up and tested them. Pratt & Whitney still builds the best engines. All engines have their problems. Testing and operating them is the only way you find out their longevity and expose the defects so they can be corrected. They will define the problem and fix it. Single source doesn’t really inter the picture except to cost more money for development.

Or the Advanced Super Hornet for that matter…

I’ll say it again… Let this be a wake up! It’s still not too late! Back in late 2011, a thousand of us with a solid knowledge of current turbofan fighter jet engine technology pleaded with the DOD to not become “ball and chained” to the Pratt and Whitney F135 engine. The main reason being is that the GE/RR F136 is a world-regarded great , and many of us thought it a better power train for the F-35. The price was competitive, and having two engine choices for the F-35 has obvious market and military benefits… certainly worth the small added program price for this added flexibility. History has shown that having competing jet engines has proven to be a salvation for previous fighter jet programs

Perhaps the USAF should look past their glorious “Air Superiority Fighter” mentality and opt for a “Ground Superiority Fighter. Oops! We have/had one, the A-10. Though long in the tooth, it is mightily effective at supporting the types of conflicts we see so much of in this era. Just think, for the price of two or three F-35’s, we could probably build 100 brand new, updated A-10’s. The USAF has always had that “maximum hardware” mentality though. We entered Vietnam with the USAF all decked out with ICBMs and supersonic fighters but ICBMs were useless for ground warfare and supersonic fighters fared not too much better. The USN used Korean era prop fighters to great effect for several years while the USAF re-geared to fight the type of conflict it should have been capable of in the first place. The F-35 is starting to look like an infinitely more expensive version of the same inappropriate conflict preparation. I think jet fighters are marvelous at air shows but the reality will likely be that the majority of future conflicts will require ground support along the lines of the Wart Hogs, B-52’s and AC130H’s. Sad to say, when those start to fail, tactical nukes would be a better choice than F-35’s although F-35’s would make fairly good launch platform barring technological failings of advanced electronics in that kind of warfare.

Not to worry, 500 million/chump change; the IRS has just thrown away that much, in the past five years, in over payments. Question, Can our government do anything correctly??????

Here is a good question.….Now I know these are old dollars and not todays dollars but > F-14 = $38 Million, F/A-18 = $29-$57 Million, A-6E = $43 Milliom while the F-35A = $125 Million, F-35B = $157 Million and the F-35C = $143 Million ! Can the F-35’s do the jobs of the F-14 or F/A 18 or the A-6E .…..that answer I believe is NO ! Buying a NEW plane for the sake of having a NEW plane is just stupid IMHO !

Oh please GE has their head up their ass worse than Pratt so stop with that nonsense..As for what Patt owes, as engines are on warranty they ow them an engine. Don’t know about anyhting else..

Comments, so far = Monday morning 5-minute quarterbacking at the water fountain.

They just had to have a sole-source engine supplier.

Curious if the other engine originally considered in its pre-production/LRIP form would’ve caused a similar catastrophe.
Had they kept that program going, the competition may have encouraged P&W to implement a better component design than what caused this fire.
But hey, with competition eliminated, let’s drag out “corrective redesign’ for as long as we can keep making money.

Then again, every US fighter in the last few decades became better when incorporated with later engine designs that surpassed the originals they were designed to use.
Maybe this will be the wake up call needed to keep development of an F135 competitor (or outright replacement) in the works, although, with the performance thus far of the overall F-35 program, it’s doubtful we’ll ever see an F-35 replacement fighter program in our lifetimes ($$$) to use such a massive engine.

PW builds the simplest engines. That may make them the best from your perspective, but does not make them the best fit for the F-35.

The POTUS also submits a budget to congress. It’s little more than a request/recommendation. Gates hated the F136, no doubt about it. But it was Lieberman’s bill that ultimately killed it (Senator from Conn, Pratt’s in Conn, no surprise there). What I’ll never understand was the POTUS’ adamant veto threat. You’ll notice since then he tends to keep his nose out of DoD acquisition matters for the most part.

I misspoke. Not backed out completely, but cut orders significantly. Just about every single one of the 8 partner nations has reduced orders or delayed purchase without a commitment to a restart. These nations don’t want to inheret the risk that’s present. I’m sure once the F-135 issue is fixed (most likely at more than the 500 million F136 development deal) they’ll warm back up.

If GE’s F136 had been fully developed, then the F136 engine design would have been available for reuse in aircraft other than the F-35 JSF. That is an important consideration.

The new LRS-B (Air Force Long Range Strike Bomber) appears to be in latter stages of development and soon headed into production. The quoted section below has been excerpted from a longer article available at the link further below. GE’s F136 engine might have been useful in that design, had the engine been available instead of cancelled. If LRS-B also uses P&W’s F135, then problems associated with F135 affect the ~$81B LRS-B program, not just F-35 JSF.

“…the projected LRS-B budget increases more than 10-fold in the current Future Years Defense Program, from $258.7 million in FY2013 to $3,451.2 million in FY2019. Aviation analysts and industry officials confirm CRS’s assessment that this funding stream resembles a production program more than a typical development profile. This may indicate that significant LRS-B development has already been completed, presumably in classified budgets…”

link: http://​fas​.org/​s​g​p​/​c​r​s​/​w​e​a​p​o​n​s​/​I​N​1​0​0​9​5​.​h​tml

It seems to be a high maintenance, unsustainable concept.

Me thinks your head is inserted pretty far. I might be incorrect on that. I see F117, F119, TF33, F111, F108, F101 and yes even F135 engines here at my worksite. Mother Pratt is raping the tax payers a whole lot worse than GE ever could. The “modular” United Technologies engines are really not repairable as compared to GE motors. Fact! Can we live with this?? Let’s just keep sending $$$ to this greedy Corporation why don’t we??

The A10 is still a very useful weapon system. I wish the Army would take it over if the AF is unwilling to keep it in service.

The threshold and objective requirements were the same and both passed the threshold, but the F136 did not require engine redesign to meet the required 5% thrust and efficiency growth capability (GE did it on there own in 2005). By comparison P&W have stated they plan on doing it, if paid, with taxpayer dollars.

Three services, 10 confirmed countries, and only 1 engine??? This is a rookie risk management 101 mistake. I get going sole source on the demonstrators to level the playing field, but contract should have had both from the onset (even if that meant delaying the F136 until a later Block). Now we’re stuck with an unsafe, under-performing, engine with no growth margin.

I’m no fan of the F-35 by any means, but your comparison is somewhat silly. All you succeeded in doing is identifying an obvious trend of increasing cost. This trend applies to all major military vehicle acquisition.

An M1A1 used to cost 2.4 million. An M1A2 costs 4.4 million. Where’s Dfens with his Iowa Class cost rant? That’ll show the same exact trend. The fact of the matter is that while a Tomcat was a VERY capable aircraft, the systems that went into would not allow it to survive in the airspace the F-35 is expecting to be in.

I certainly don’t know as much about that engine as you do, but that seemed to be the consensus of those I talked to who do know more than I about such things.

In case of Canada at least it seems very improbable that this engine failure did change the plans. A decision was supposed to be made by now but a stronger rumor say that any decision is going to be delayed for 2015 election.

Another article is talking about ” “final delivery” between 2026 and 2035.” so it look like that just like the sea-king (still being used) someone is thinking that there is plenty of juice left. But adding them together is a risky speculation.

The real question is why even bother? Why park an amphib 100 miles off the coast when a conventional carrier 500NM away can put jets over the beach with more combat load and more endurance. Why would you WANT to get your stealthy penetrating fighter close to the action?

1 — Don’t buy a single engine fighter. Period. 2 — If you do buy a single engine fighter, don’t buy a single manufactures engine design. Of course there is no way you could make a STOVL two engine fighter, and that would be a good thing.

I think the better comparison would be the F-22 at a flyaway cost of $150M and the program was severely cut due to expense. The F-35 was supposed to be the smaller, cheaper, single engine brother of the F-22 as the F-16 was to the F-15. The difference is that the F-16 actually was cheaper, by quite a bit. Another apt comparison would be the Virginia class and Seawolf class submarines. The Seawolf was deemed too expensive at about $2.75M, so the less capable (although some would say more flexible) Virginia class was bought instead for a little over $2B. I guess those $750 millions add up over time, but you have to eat the NRE.

Because some bean-counters have convinced the Admirals and Generals that less competition is somehow cheaper. And in bean-counter world it is, since you only have one developer you have to pay for all that non-recurring engineering. Of course for the rest of us in the real world common sense states that you don’t put your eggs in one (engine) basket, and that if you have a single supplier they have you by the eggs.

Always wondered what the unit cost of the Seawolf was minus R&D. Is the Seawolf cost you cite unit cost or unit cost + R&D?

STOVL will be great for our ski-deck allies. Navy thinks piling up more aircraft on the deck is worth more than a ski-jump.

People have this illusion that Marine amphibs can be self-sufficient against a powerful adversary. Or they intend JSF-B to go whacking tinpoints with three JSF-B’s and a lower turnaround time than a full-size supercarrier.

I guess if the Marines wanted to turn Somalia into a hunting ground STOVLing JSF-B would be cheaper than parking a carrier.

Thing is, the F-35 is already down to $100 million according to the USAF and some others. However everybody and their mother has come up with a different flyaway cost for this aircraft.

Single Engine fighters are very common and have been the main stay of most airforces. It is true the single engine is the #1 contributor to loss of aircraft for a jet like the F-16. But I can say that the Class-A mishap rate is almost the same (events per flight hour) for the F-16 versus the F-18, so 2 engines don’t necessarily make you any safer.

GE already has a totally separate engine in development for the LRS called the ADVENT and Pratt has one too but I forget the name off top of my head. The AF has a different set of engine performance criteria for the LRS than it did for the F35 so the F136 would not be compatible. However, some of the technological advances developed during the F136 program are being leveraged into the ADVENT to be sure.

Single source really does enter this picture because 100% of the fleet is grounded instead of 50%.

The Smithsonian tribute to the Being 747 shown this week on the network is a great study
of the what-if scenario with the original PW engines that were installed for the 747 design.
It was the same freaky design used by PW in their engines that were designed to go M1.
The solution was to place the CEO in a 747 and let him fly with the test pilot…same results
engine burn-out during rapid acceleration. PW was aware of the issues and quickly
redesigned an engine that worked correctly. Finally GE engines replaced the PW muffins.
The 747 became the most sought-after aircraft in the world with 0.99 proficiency scores.

So first, the various F-35 variants at rate will cost $65 — $80M. And a group of 6 F-35’s can execute the same mission as 8 F-15’s, 4 F-16’s, 2 heavy tankers, and 1 AWACs plane. Now to the math and see what’s most expensive.

Regret to advise that the Attorney General is out of the office and preoccupied with other, more important issues. Try again in 2016

I would love to see how someone can get to the conclusion that 6 f-35 (apparently alone) can perform the same as 8 f-15 and 4 f-16.

Unless LockMart found a way to teleport the fuel + ordonance, someone is dwelling on a best-case scenario.

Is that because they de-rated the engine?

Why don’t we just give the president the national police force he spoke of before his first election and eliminate the military entirely? After all we don’t have any more enemies that can threaten us domestically, right? Look at all the money we would “save”. Golly, we could even clothe, house, feed, educate, and provide lifetime medical coverage for all the illegal immigrants (including the children) flooding into this country. Gosh we “might” even have money left over. I wonder how much good will we could buy if we did this. After all aren’t we all responsible for just getting along? An old song once admonished us to “Try to love one another right now.” Sarcasm intended.

Pratt & Whitney; aren’t these the guys who make those always-faulty lawn mower engines?

You missed my point. I was not saying that we are going to keep its electronics on board until the end of the times. It was about mega-project so big that they are “too big to fail”, with a timeline that is too long. I know I am repeating myself but it is too big. That mean that for decades there won’t such contracts, meaning that a generation of engineer won’t know what designing a mass-produced fighter jet is.

That mean loss of expertise. Loss of competitivity. Expect to pay even more for less.


Otherwise North Korea would have smuggled “Advanced aircraft design and manufacturing for dummies” and would be on par with the rest of the world.

That engine you described is a chinese knock-off. P&W is very good, competition is even better.


You have serious internal problems M’Man.
Some of your ENEMIES are paying for the latest version of the EDSEL.
If you cannot fly it, why should we buy it?
Ask the dog in the white house.
Will I die in an auto accident soon?


P&W only bury their mistakes in sub contractor screw-ups.
You were probably against Watergate too?

The American Taxpayer has be sold the ultimate White Elephant here. The F-35 is 1/2 the plane the F-22 is. However they cost the same.……Nice real nice.

Sure, the F-22 will take off vertically and catch a wire on a carrier, and do your taxes and it doesn’t matter if you have filed for divorce in the last 12 months.

This jet is having significant problems during development — and this seems to convince some people that the problems exceed the potential benefits. Development problems have never stopped the US from creating awesome technologies and the F35 supposedly represents a giant step forward for our military. Years ago, any problems like this engine problem would not necessarily halted a program but now we are extra cautious, and I don’t blame them for that. Apollo 13 was a near disaster but we pressed forward and we landed men on the moon. I think we should be able to complete the F35 and put her into service but this road is difficult because the F35 is so advanced. We used to believe in American ingenuity — let’s not give up on a difficult task folks!

Such a well thought comment.

I think we should hold off on the overweight brother (F35), and make sure we have our proven F22’s air supply system corrected first. Then worry about sharing our technology with our allies.

No, that’s Toro

Seems to be a lot of expensive bugs in this F-35 and no one talks about the warranty.….Time for some real competition to be used and find out who can and cannot build a reliable all purpose bird.….

I sincerely doubt that GE is giving Uncle Sam any better deals as these defense contractors types are all thieves…Regarding F135 engines exactly what repairs are you doing? Modular IS the way to go for labor ease, readiness and costs despite your contrary views. Unless you’re talking about simple stuff large overhauls yes are expensive and like I said can’t imagine any of them being cheap..

Lets just do it with drones. The new air super planes fly themselves via computers anyway. The man in the seat is just a weapons launch operator to make sure we don’t bomb schools or hospitals. As far as a dogfight, forget about it when you can lock on a target as far away as you can see and toast a foe where is the threat? we have the capability to knock most anything incoming with our air defense ground to air. Lets face it no matter how its done we need air superiority we have a lot of hatred out in the world towards us.

The fire was an engine relate problem. Just wait until the F-35 starts having problems other than those related to the powerplant. The “fun” is just starting. Good Luck!

No thats Briggs&Stratton

The drones are teleoperated from a distance, and that is their weakness. The farther from the control station where decisions are made, the greater the latency and delay between a human decision and an action by a teleoperated vehicle.

Another long term concern is that we assume the airframe itself will serve for a long time. There’s a good chance that technology will put L– or S-band radars onto aircraft and neutralize X-band optimized designs..putting the F-35 where the –16 is now. We can optimistically model the F-35’s service life as a function of incremental improvement of Russian radar over time, but it’s depends on that…models. Models based on export variants of Russian radar systems.

That or Suvorov pulled a fast one in re. export models of Russian weapons systems.

Money spent on upgrading the F-15 (or making another heavy fighter) might not be badly spent on doing a modest upgrade on the F-22’s, or reopening production of that aircraft.

As for a light aircraft, just procure the X-35 and accept the loss of the internal weapons bay. Throw on low RCS conformal weapons blisters, low RCS missiles and bombs will take care of the rest.

“Apollo 13 was a near disaster but we pressed forward and we landed men on the moon.”

We had already landed men on the moon before 13. Unless you meant Apollo 1.

“we should be able to complete the F35 and put her into service but this road is difficult because the F35 is so advanced”

Should…but do we have to? We backed away from MBT-70 and got the Abrams. We backed away from TFX and got F-111 and F-14. Seawolf was stopped for the Virginias. Not every success story involves banging a head on a wall until a program squeaks through.

Guess I’ll believe it when we give Israel 6 F-35’s to take out Bushehr…no aerial refueling please, we’re F-35 Magicmobiles!

I’ll be even more impressed when they’ll use it to destroy fordo. With its great kinematic performance and such a huge bomb bay I expect to run out of finger before their ordonance pass through.

Wait for the classified stuff. ;-)

So much for low bid engine parts

I believe we already have a really good stealth fighter called the F-22. I wonder how many new F-22s we could have bought for the money we wasted on the F-35.

The F-35 has to be put into service, but it is still a shame that it has been so poorly managed. It is also exasperating to see problems with the airplane’s structure or with the engine at this point. Plus the software which is likely to cause a delay of block 3F.

The decision to build production airframes before the plane was sufficiently tested was also a mistake.

They have to finish it once and for all, no more delays and stupid mistakes!


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