The Rolls-Royce/GE F136 engine for the F-35 JSF program has returned to test status after a minor redesign of a lug nut which was ingested by a test engine last year.
GE spokesman Rick Kennedy told DOD Buzz that “Delay costs were minimal — there has been no re-programming of the F136, and we’re on cost. We are eager to accumulate test hours in 2010, and we plan to make that up with several engines running this year.”
The engine on the test stand is number 06, while numbers 04 and 05 are rebuilt after the redesign before rejoining the test program.
The F136 is the ‘alternate’ engine for the F-35 program after the lead P&W F135. Three successive attempts by the Pentagon to kill off the engine in order to save money on the JSF program have been thwarted by a US Congress eager to maintain an engine competition on the program, as well as a second US fighter engine manufacturing capability.