$588.4 Million Worth Life Kiss for F-35’s F-135 Engine
The version of the NDAA proposed by the House Armed Services Committee would restore funds for the development of adaptive engine technology for a future fighter while continuing a programme to modify the F-35’s current Pratt & Whitney-made F135 engines.
The recommended version of the 2024 National Defence Authorization Act by the House Armed Services Committee would save a programme to develop a next-generation fighter aircraft engine.
The legislation’s chairman’s mark, announced Monday evening, would provide $588.4 million for the Adaptive Engine Transition Programme to help it develop its technology and decrease risk.
In March, the Pentagon issued a projected fiscal 2024 budget that included no funds for AETP, instead opting for the Engine Core Upgrade, Pratt & Whitney’s proposal to upgrade the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s existing Pratt-made F135 engines.
However, the House supports continuing development on both engine programmes in 2024 and fully funding the Engine Core Upgrade.
The Pentagon was also investigating AETP to modernise the F-35’s propulsion systems, which will require more power, thrust, and cooling as the jet receives crucial upgrades later this decade. These adaptive engines, which have been prototyped by Pratt & Whitney and General Electric Aerospace, would add a third stream of air to cool the engine and adjust to the ideal configuration for any given situation.
The Air Force wanted to use the adaptive engine in its F-35As. However, the adaptive engine lacks interoperability with the United States Marine Corps F-35Bs, which can take off and land vertically.
From local news, it is understood that lawmakers want to restore AETP funding to keep the technology moving forward as the Defence Department continues to develop the sixth-generation Next Generation Air Dominance platform.
GE’s adaptive engine is the XA100, whereas Pratt’s adaptive engine is the XA101. Pratt claims their adaptable engine is better suited for NGAD than the F-35.