According to 2nd Lt. Ezra Caplan, the Arnold Engineering Development Center Air Force program manager for the test, the purpose of the service life extension program is to increase sustainability and support of the three engine fleets while preserving the performance on the aircraft itself.
"We want the aircraft to be able to fly like it has flown in the past, whether it's the U-2 or the B-2 program," he said.
The F118-100 is currently undergoing altitude performance tests to ensure the new engine components match the required performance for the aircraft. The tests will run through March with 90 hours of running time expected.
"Everything has gone smoothly so far," said Mark Cross, Aerospace Testing Alliance senior project engineer. "We had a highly successful check-out run and we met 145 percent of our test objectives on the first run, which is beyond normal of what you would expect to get done."
The Arnold Engineering Development Center also completed tests ahead of schedule on the F118-101 engine, which is the power plant for the U-2, late last year. According to Caplan, this was one of the most critical tests performed in 2005.
"We really had a phenomenal effort by the J-1 test team," said Caplan. "They really did a great job taking in, not only what we had to do, which was more than enough for the short time period, but they also incorporated some additional test objectives."