Lockheed-Martin believes it is necessary to change the F-35 reactor to ensure its durability

According to Greg Ulmer, executive vice president of aeronautics at Lockheed-Martin, it is preferable to change the engine of the F-35 to turn to a propellant from the AETP program, rather than to evolve the current PW F135.

Last March, the Pentagon announced its decision to turn to the proposal made by the engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to modernize the F135 turbojet engine of the F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft, rather than considering its replacement by a new generation turbojet engine of the AETP (Adaptive Engine Transition Program) type , a solution recommended by the other American engine manufacturer, General Electric, with its XA100 also in the running for the NGAD program.

For the Pentagon, this decision was justified by the fact that the improvements proposed by P&W for its F135 would indeed make it possible to increase performance and solve the cooling problems that the engine currently encounters, that they were more economical and less risky, and especially that the choice of the XA100 for the F-35A of the US Air Force could not be applied to the F-35B of the Marine Corps, while the question remained posed concerning the F-35C of the US Navy.

The mass seemed to be said until Lockheed-Martin, the manufacturer of the F-35, came to provide grist to the mill of a next-generation solution, rather than the improvement of the current F-135.

Indeed, interviewed by the American site BreakingDefense.com At the Paris Air Show, Greg Ulmer, executive vice president of aeronautics at Lockheed-Martin, dropped a small bomb that could get bigger as it crosses the Atlantic.

the engine of the current F-35 F135 makes it possible to equip the 3 versions with the same turbojet engine
The biggest handicap of the AETP engine like the GE XA100 is that it is not suitable for F-35B vertical or short take-off and landing because it is too long to allow space for the balancing fan.

According to him, the decision to turn to an improvement of the F-135 from Pratt & Whitney only represents a transitional solution, only allowing the American fighter, which is supposed to remain in service until 2070, to be given the renewed power and reliability needed beyond Block 4 currently being finalized. In other words, according to its designer, it is necessary to change the reactor of the F-35.

It should be remembered that Block 4 represents the first standard deemed fully operational for the American device, which should enter production by the second half of 2024, and that it will provide the device with new sensors and a increased processing, reason for which the power of F135, moreover for a long time considered to be insufficient compared to the mass of the apparatus, had to be increased.


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