EAST HARTFORD, Conn., June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—The Pratt & Whitney F135 propulsion system has powered the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant through another major program achievement, with the first supersonic flight of the STOVL F-35B aircraft. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.
"This is truly a historic accomplishment, not just for Pratt & Whitney and the F135 team, but really for all of military aviation," said Bennett Croswell, Vice President of F135 and F119 Engine Programs. "This is the first time ever, in the history of aviation that a production ready, stealthy, short take-off vertical landing capable aircraft has flown supersonic."
Piloting the aircraft (BF-2) was U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt Kelly, who climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.07 in the off-shore supersonic test track near Naval Air Station Patuxent River. BF-2 is the third F-35 to fly supersonic. Two F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants also achieved supersonic speeds.
"We are proud to celebrate this milestone with our partners at the Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin, and look forward to continuing to expand the envelope of this truly remarkable aircraft and propulsion system," Croswell said.
The Pratt & Whitney F135 continues its steady progress through conclusion of development testing and validation, and into full production and sustainment. The F135 has completed more than 17,600 hours of testing and the Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) / Carrier Variant (CV) engine received Initial Service Release (ISR) in February indicating that the engine has met all the ISR requirements for safety, reliability, durability and performance, and that it is now cleared for use in the field. Pratt & Whitney has delivered all test engines required for the program as well as the first four production engines.
Pratt & Whitney, the only engine manufacturer producing fifth generation propulsion systems, has designed, developed and tested the F135 to deliver the most advanced fifth generation fighter engine for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as for eight international partner countries. The F135 is derived from proven technology of the only operational fifth generation fighter engine, the Pratt & Whitney F119 that exclusively powers the F-22 with more than 300,000 engine hours. It has been further enhanced with technologies developed in several Air Force and Navy technology demonstration programs.
The F135 propulsion system has proven through extensive ground and flight test experience that it can meet diverse aircraft requirements, for armed forces around the world. The Pratt & Whitney F135 engine continues to be the only engine powering the successful Lockheed Martin F-35 Flight Test Program.
Source: Pratt & Whitney