The Pentagon is considering changes and improvements in the engines of the U.S. military's F-35 stealth fighters or the installation of a different engine in order to improve the performance of the plane and to overcome problems in sustaining its Pratt & Whitney engines.
The Janes website reported that General Eric Fick, executive officer of the U.S. military's F-35 program, told a panel at the House of Representatives that the costs and sustainment of the Pratt & Whitney F-135 PW-100 turbofan engines are "challenging", with the engines approaching 2,000 flight hours, the stage at which they are scheduled to be removed for maintenance for the first time.
General Fick added that the Pentagon also aspires to increase the power of the engines after Block 4 modifications are implemented. "There is a need to evaluate the F-35 engine options," the general said, pledging to cooperate with the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to find alternatives for the current propulsion system of the planes.
He said that he recently visited the facility of GE Aviation, which also deals with the engines of the Air Force's F-35. According to Fick, he was impressed by the company's program but there is a lot of work to be done before the company presents a plan of its own to manufacture an F-35 engine.