Pratt and Whitney has proposed an upgrade to the F-35 Lightning II’s F135 engine that would increase useable power while reducing fuel consumption.
Dubbed Growth Option 2.0, the new engine would utilise a more advanced power and thermal management system (PTMS) enabling the aircraft to carry new weapons and sensors, plus new compressor and turbine technologies that would provide more thrust and yet better fuel efficiency.
The 2.0 proposal is a development of the Growth Option 1.0 concept the engine manufacturer unveiled in 2017, and comes after feedback on the 1.0 concept from the JSF Program Office (JPO).
“Growth Option 2.0 incorporates the same suite of compressor and turbine technologies offered in the previously announced Growth Option 1.0, and also brings scaled advances in PTMS capacity while maintaining the same fuel burn (5-6 per cent) and thrust improvements (6-10 per cent) across the F-35 flight envelope,” Pratt and Whitney said on June 12.
“Growth Option 2.0 represents the next iteration of Pratt and Whitney’s Future Adaptive Spiral Technology approach, which enables the timely insertion of next-generation propulsion technologies into current and future platforms.”
While the concept is not yet funded, the JPO reportedly considers it important as the JSF program moves from development into the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery phase, and evaluates what capabilities will form part of the F-35’s Block 4 enhancements.
“Our spiral approach allows Pratt and Whitney to offer rapid, iterative upgrades such as Growth Option 1.0 and Growth Option 2.0 that put next generation propulsion technologies into the hands of the warfighter as fast as possible,” president of Pratt & Whitney’s military engines unit Matthew Bromberg said.
“These upgrades are aligned with the F-35 C2D2 strategy and provide a range of options to meet future weapons system requirements for the F135 engine.”