Officials from Pratt & Whitney (P&W) and GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) today signed an agreement to work together on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, to assure that both companies' engines will be physically and functionally interchangeable across all three variants of the JSF aircraft.
Signing on behalf of P&W was Steve Finger, president, Military Engines; signing for GEAE was Russell Sparks, vice president and general manager, Military Engines. The agreement was co-signed by Darleen Druyun and Paul Schneider, acquisition executives for the U.S. Air Force and Navy, respectively.
Pratt &Whitney's JSF119 engine was selected by both JSF weapons system contractors, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to power their competing demonstrator aircraft designs. The engine, a derivative of the F119 engine powering the F-22 Raptor, currently has accrued approximately 150 hours of flight test performance in all JSF candidate aircraft variants. GE's JSF F120 engine is a derivative of the F120 engine originally developed for the YF-22 and YF-23, and is being further developed to power the JSF aircraft in the future. It has been the plan of the U.S. Department of Defense to compete the P&W and GEAE engines starting in approximately 2011 during the production phase of the JSF Program.
The JSF Program Office's (JPO) acquisition strategy calls for interchangeability between the P&W and GEAE engines across all three JSF aircraft variants. The engines are required to be physically and functionally interchangeable. According to Maj. Gen. Mike Hough, JSF program director, "All JSF aircraft will be able to use either the P&W or GEAE engine."
A JPO/P&W/GEAE Engine Interchangeability Team has been established to integrate the management structure and technical processes necessary to assure implementation of the JPO's vision. This includes participation by GEAE on P&W-led integrated product teams for those propulsion system components that will be common to the JSF119 and JSF F120 engines. The maximization of these common components is a key element of JSF program affordability.