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Mandatory inspections to take place on F-35 fighter jets

U.S. and British authorities are looking to require mandatory inspections on all Lockheed Martin (LMT +0.6%) F-35 fighter jets, after another incident took place last week involving an engine fire. The engines are manufactured by Pratt & Whitney (UTX +0.5%).
Comments (7)
  • Felix Lumpe
    , contributor
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    It is as shame that the USAF did not continue funding of the GE F136 engine development program in order to maintain an engine competition and provide an option for a superior engine. A short sighted decision that will have long term economic and fleet readiness and reliability consequences. Already looking a lot like a repeat of the early PW F100 program. I guess if they eventually throw enough CIP funding at it, they'll fix the engine problems and it will meet its design spec. The problem is that this could rake many years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Good business for P&W however. Not so good for US tax payers.
    3 Jul 2014, 11:09 AM Reply Like
  • valvo7
    , contributor
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    Right, spend billions more on the GE F136. The PW F135 is derived from the F-119 (the F-22's engine) and between the two (119 and 135) they have flown relatively trouble free for many thousands hours. The sky is not falling Felix the problem will be corrected.
    3 Jul 2014, 01:10 PM Reply Like
  • Felix Lumpe
    , contributor
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    Valco7 - claiming that the F135 is derived from the F119 is a stretch and I assume you know that. It was a very effective "marketing" claim but we all know that there us not one common part number that could be swapped between the two engines. I agree that this us all ancient history now and that we will all move on. I guess it is good that P&W has this niche market so that it can sustain their propulsion business such that there can continue to be two manufactures of large jet engines in the US (without any disrespect to Honeywell which makes great engines but serves a slightly different market). Competition, I'm sure you'll agree, is a good thing' right valvo? :-)
    3 Jul 2014, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • jake319
    , contributor
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    The f119 engine has the same core and hpt. The fan shaft I know is a different P/N. However the engine fire is not a big deal. I have seen duct fires on the Ge129 before. They were caused by a fuel line to one of the fuel distributers. The fire was contained in the bypass duct the fuel caught fire in the exhaust plume and out the exhaust. A quick look at the monitoring data would show a higher then normal exhaust nozzle position if the fire took place in the duct. However this is a class 1 incident and requires the engine to be pulled and bore scope the combusted section. Hpt and Lpt. A fuel pressure check of the manifolds should reveal the leak. Repair as required. Ops check on the test stand and return to sevice... A service bulletin or TCTO requiring inspection will be required for serial number parts involved. PW service engineer 30 years:)
    3 Jul 2014, 09:37 PM Reply Like
  • valvo7
    , contributor
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    Part numbers between the 119 and the 135 are different (but not all) indicating they are germane to the 135 vs. the 119, however the 135 is indeed an advanced derivation of the 119.
    Yes, competition is a good thing and there was between the 135 and 136, but when the customer (in this case the Pentagon) has seen enough to make a decision and is unwilling to spend the money, the competition, as was the case here, is over.
    Now the next fight between Pratt and GE is for the right to produce the 6th generation engine.
    3 Jul 2014, 10:12 PM Reply Like
  • Felix Lumpe
    , contributor
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    The word "derivative" is used loosely tp describe engine heritage. In most reality the "derivative" nature in reality is technology and not part numbers or engine core as Jake alludes to. In the case of the F135' its original core was envisioned to be that of the F119. That is how the program was sold as low risk. In reality, that core was redesigned (actually resized) to lower hot section temperatures and provide adequate engine life. The long competition between GE and PW for F-15 and F-16 engines was an incredible chapter in propulsion history. Interestingly, both companies can legitimately claim 70 percent overall market shares depending upon how you read the small print. In total, the F100 did provide about 70% of all the engines for both aircraft. However, GE did provide about 70% of all the engines once the F110 was qualified and available as on option for either aircraft. The arguments and strategies involved for picking either engine were interesting and intense. In the course of the various competitions, each company was forced to provide a long and costly list of concessions to win. This of course had a very positive impact for customers. Unfortunately for customers, such engine competitions will not occur for the F-35, which is a good thing for the engine manufacturer. In retrospect, both companies build great engines based on incredible technologies.
    4 Jul 2014, 06:18 AM Reply Like
  • GoiYatLa
    , contributor
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    An initial 10% fine given to P & W for the "Down Time" of the F-35. ( Shareholders do not like penalties ) A thorough inspection of both the repaired and new F 135's coming off the line, including additional fines for poor workmanship along with the threat of pulling any future P&W contracts might insure a reliable engine for our F-35's. We need these planes. Rest assured that the Chinese would not just fine their faulty engine manufacturers, but in all likelihood stand some of them against a wall to be considered as "Enemies of the State".
    4 Jul 2014, 05:49 PM Reply Like
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