(FORT WORTH, Texas, December 15, 2006) -- Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine accelerated to full power and lifted the F-35 Lightning II to first flight at approximately 12:45 CST today. The ensuing 35 minute-long inaugural flight, a culmination and validation of more than 15 years of engine development, saw the Pratt & Whitney engine effortlessly push the aircraft to 15,000 feet. The initial flight test also verified the F135's integrated flight control systems and its ability to power all of the aircraft's hydraulic and electrical components. Pratt & Whitney is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
"This is a major milestone for our engine and the aircraft, one we've all been building toward for years, and it is a testament to the commitment and partnership among Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, the Joint Program Office (JPO) and the eight partner countries," said Bill Gostic, vice president, F135 engine program for Pratt & Whitney. "I'm looking forward to continuing this success when our F135 propulsion system powers the Short Take-off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 - we're tremendously excited about our STOVL engine's capabilities."
"The Lightning II performed beautifully," said F-35 Chief Pilot Jon Beesley following the flight. "What a great moment for the program, and a testimony to the people who have worked so hard to make this happen."
Powering the F-35's first flight is one in a series of milestones the F135 has achieved. In October, the F135 engine achieved Initial Flight Release from the F-35 JPO, which declared all F135 tests and verification reports complete. The engine has recently surpassed 6,700 hours of ground testing in addition to the more than 3,600 hours accumulated during the concept demonstration phase of the F-35 program, reflecting the F135's maturity and reliability.
Pratt & Whitney is the lead propulsion system supplier for the F-35 program. The technologically advanced F135 is an evolution of the highly successful F119 engine for the F-22 Raptor. Together the F135 and F119 will have logged more than 800,000 hours before the F-35's introduction into operational service in 2012. Rated at more than 40,000 pounds of thrust, the F135 is the most powerful fighter engine ever built.
The F135 propulsion system team consists of Pratt & Whitney, the prime contractor with responsibility for the main engine and system integration; Rolls-Royce of the United Kingdom, providing lift components for the STOVL F-35B; and UTC's Hamilton Sundstrand unit, provider of the F135's control and fuel systems, external accessories and gearbox. Hamilton Sundstrand also supplies the airframe's electric system and fire detection and suppression equipment.
In addition to the F135 engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F119 powering the F-22 Raptor, Pratt & Whitney military engine models include the F117 for the C-17 Globemaster III; F100 for F-15 and F-16 fighters; J52 for the EA-6B Prowler; TF33 powering AWACS, Joint STARS, B-52, TF30 for the F-111, PT6 for T-6A and UH-1N aircraft; and JT15 for the T-1A trainer and Pegasus UCAV.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies provides high-technology products and services to the aerospace and building industries.