Pratt & Whitney F135 Turbofan

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About the F135 Engine:

The Pratt & Whitney F135 two-spool afterburning turbofan engine powers all three variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II - Joint Strike Fighter. The F135 propulsion system is the most powerful fighter engine ever developed.

The F135-PW-100 powers the U.S. Air Force F-35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) variant and provides 28,000 pounds of thrust or as much as 43,000 pounds with afterburner.

The more complex (and almost twice as expensive) F135-PW-600 system is used on the Marine Corps F-35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant. The system is basically an F135 engine coupled to a lift system manufactured by Rolls-Royce (Rolls-Royce LiftSystem). The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem is comprised of a lift fan, a driveshaft, the 3 Bearing Swivel Module (3BSM), and two roll posts. The driveshaft connects the F135 engine to the lift fan and delivers as much as 29,000 shp. The lift fan provides the forward vertical lift. It is a 50-inch, two-stage counter-rotating fan, which is able to deliver more than 20,000 pounds of thrust. The 3BSM is a swiveling jet pipe, which redirects the main engine thrust downward to provide the rear vertical lift. It can rotate 95 degrees in 2.5 seconds and directs 18,000 pounds of thrust. Aircraft roll control is achieved using two roll posts mounted in the wings of the F-35. These roll posts provide 1,950 pounds of thrust each (bypass thrust from F135 engine). In total, the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem provides 41,900 pounds of thrust.

The F135-PW-400 powers the Navy's F-35C Carrier Variant (CV) and provides 28,000 pounds of thrust or as much as 43,000 pounds with afterburner.

The F135 is developed from the proven Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 engine which powers the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor. By the end of the development phase of the F135, the F119 had performed approximately 600,000 operational flying hours, thus providing a strong level of maturity and performance for the F135 program. By 2013, almost 21,000 test hours had been completed (17,700 ground + 2,950 flight). In December 2014, the worldwide F-35 fleet reached the 25,000 flight hour mark. The 50,000 hours flight hour milestone was surpassed in February 2016.

The F135-PW-100 powered the first F-35 Lightning II CTOL flight on December 15, 2006. The F135-PW-600 STOVL propulsion system powered the first F-35B STOVL flight on June 11, 2008. Further, the F135-PW-400 powered the first F-35C CV flight on June 7, 2010.

With the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, it is the first time that the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have fielded a "tri-service" strike fighter. The F-35 program also includes participation from eight partner nations being the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Currently, more than 40 companies from all of the eight partner nations are engaged in the Pratt & Whitney F135 fighter engine program.

By July 2013, Pratt & Whitney had delivered 103 F135 production engines to Lockheed Martin. In May 2014, Pratt & Whitney delivered engine #137, the first F135 engine produced at the company's new 97,000 square-foot production facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. By June 2015, 183 production engines had been delivered. By July 2016, 288 F135 engines (dev. + production) had been delivered. For Lot 9 and Lot 10, Pratt & Whitney was able to reduce the cost of the F135 by 3.4% for the CTOL/CV versions and 6.4% for the STOVL propulsion system. Since 2009, the company has reduced the cost of the CTOL/CV engine by half, and the STOVL propulsion system by almost 35%.

In October 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded a $508 million contract ($1.1 billion fully funded) to Pratt & Whitney for the 6th lot of F135 engines. The contract was for 38 engines, including 18 F135-PW-100 engines for the F-35A, seven F135-PW-400s for the F-35C, and six F135-PW-600s for the F-35B. In October 2014, the DoD awarded Pratt & Whitney a $592 million contract ($943 million fully funded) for the 7th lot of engines (36 units), while a $793 million contract ($1.05 billion fully funded) for the 8th lot was awarded shortly after (48 units). In April 2016, the DoD awarded Pratt & Whitney a $1.04 billion contract ($1.4 billion fully funded) for the 9th lot of F135 engines (66 units). Deliveries of LRIP 9 engines commenced in Q2 2016. On July 8, 2016, the DoD awarded Pratt & Whitney a $1.5 billion contract ($1.95 billion fully funded) for the 10th lot of F135 engines (99 units). Deliveries of LRIP 10 engines commence in 2017.

Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Forecast International,
Pratt & Whitney (United Technologies Corp.), and Rolls-Royce plc.

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Engine Type:

Two-Spool Afterburning Turbofan Engine


F-35 Lightning II (F-35A; F-35B; F-35C)


In Production


Pratt & Whitney (United Technologies)

Price/Unit Cost:

$13.06 (CTOL/CV) and $30.86 million (STOVL)

Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine

Last Update: September 19, 2016.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// Contact Forecast International

External Resources:

Pratt & Whitney's F135 Site: Pratt & Whitney F135
Rolls-Royce: STOVL LiftSystem

YouTube: Pratt & Whitney F135 | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: Pratt & Whitney F135
Fact Sheet: Pratt & Whitney F135 CTOL
Fact Sheet: Pratt & Whitney F135 STOVL
Fact Sheet: Pratt & Whitney F135 CV
Fact Sheet: Rolls-Royce LiftSystem

F135 Afterburner at Night
F135-PW-100 Ground Testing

Engine Specifications: Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100/400/600

Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney (United Technologies)
Thrust: 28,000 pounds or 43,000 pounds with afterburner
Rolls-Royce LiftSystem:
Lift Fan (STOVL): 20,000 pounds
3BSM (STOVL): 18,000 pounds
Roll posts (STOVL): 2x 1,950 pounds
Overall Pressure Ratio at Maximum Power: 28
Thrust-to-Weight Ratio: Unknown
Compressor: Two spool, axial flow, three-stage fan
LP-HP Compressor Stages: 0-6
HP-LP Turbine Stages: 1-1
Combustor Type: Annular
Engine Control: FADEC
Length: CTOL/CV: 220 in (5.59 m); STOVL: 369 in (9.37 m)
Diameter: 51 in (1.30 m)
Dry Weight: Unknown
Platforms: F-35 Lightning II (F-35A; F-35B; F-35C)
F135-PW-100: F-35A
F135-PW-400: F-35C
F135-PW-600: F-35B
Price/Unit Cost:
F135-PW-100: $13.06 million (in FY 2016)
F135-PW-400: $13.06 million (in FY 2016)
F135-PW-600: $30.82 million (in FY 2016)
First Run: Unknown
First Flight:
CTOL: December 15, 2006
STOVL: June 11, 2008
CV: June 7, 2010

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