Dutch Partners Deliver Components to GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team
June 18, 2008
The Hague, Netherlands -- The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team has received the first deliveries of key work packages from Dutch companies, part of the Netherlands' industrial participation in the F136 engine to power the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
The deliveries of the engine components highlight some of the first of more than $1 Billion in work for Dutch business over the lifetime of the F136 engine program.
The F136 engine is the most advanced fighter aircraft engine ever developed and will be available to power all variants of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft for the US military and eight partner nations.
Industrial partners DutchAero and Atkins Nedtech engineering have made important contributions in the design and manufacture of components, including the 1.4-meter diameter fan case near the front of the engine. Atkins Nedtech assisted in the design of the fan case while DutchAero manufactured it. The component is known within the F136 program as the "Dutch fan case," due to the work of the industrial partners in the Netherlands.
Additionally, DutchAero has manufactured and delivered the first set of bladed disks (or "blisks") for the F136 engine and other significant component work is in final stages with delivery to the Fighter Engine Team expected in upcoming weeks.
The new components will go into the first production-configured F136 engine which will be delivered later this year as part of the Fighter Engine Team's System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract with the US Government.
DutchAero, located in Eindhoven, and the Fighter Engine Team have been partners on the program for 10 years, as GE and Rolls-Royce recognized the capabilities of the Dutch manufacturer and the added value it brought to the F136 program. DutchAero also manufactured the fan case and 1.5-meter diameter blisks for prototype F136 engines.
The engineering expertise of Atkins Nedtech, located in Hoofddorp, was recognized early in the program as well. Nedtech's engineers have assisted in the engine design for many years and the company maintains engineering staff on the program at a Rolls-Royce facility in the United Kingdom. In addition to the fan case, Atkins Nedtech designed and analyzed the front bearing housing for the F136 engine.
Both DutchAero and Atkins Nedtech have benefited from spin-off activities and are carrying out work on other non-JSF programs as a result of their involvement with the Fighter Engine Team.
Jean Lydon-Rodgers, President of the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team, praised the contributions made by the Dutch industrial partners.
"DutchAero and Atkins Nedtech have been heavily involved in the design and manufacture of the F136 engine for many years and have delivered once again as we build our first production configuration engine. These highly technical contributions represent the very best of Dutch industry and we are very grateful for their expertise."
Clemente Perscarmona, Chief Executive Officer of DutchAero, said, "The F136 for the Joint Strike Fighter is considered the most technologically advanced combat engine program. Our significant contribution demonstrates the capabilities of DutchAero and also highlights Dutch technology to the rest of the world. The economic benefits will multiply directly as we move forward with the F136 engine program and also indirectly, as we at DutchAero expect, through other GE and Rolls-Royce programs."
Wim van Beinum, Managing Director of Atkins Nedtech, said, "Our engineers are really pleased to have worked on the Dutch fan case project, to be involved with a high-profile and technically innovative design. It was a great opportunity to showcase our aero engine expertise."
The Fighter Engine Team will begin testing this first production engine in early 2009. This is the first engine to be delivered under the SDD contract with the US Government. First flight of the F136 engine in an F-35 Lightning II will take place in 2010.
The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team is a joint venture of the world's two leading propulsion companies. GE Aviation, with responsibility for 60 percent of the F136 program, is developing the core compressor and coupled high-pressure/low-pressure turbine system components, controls and accessories, and the augmentor. Rolls-Royce, with 40 percent of the F136 program, is responsible for the front fan, combustor, stages 2 and 3 of the low-pressure turbine, and gearboxes. International participant countries are also contributing to the F136 through involvement in engine development and component manufacturing.
The Fighter Engine Team reached another important milestone this year with successful completion of Critical Design Review (CDR), validating the unique design of the engine. The F136 program remains on schedule and within budget and is fully funded by the US Government for FY 2008. More than 50 percent of the SDD funding for the engine has already been appropriated and the US Government has invested more than $2 Billion in the program.
Two pre-SDD test engines totaled more than 700 hours of running time, contributing significantly to risk reduction in the program. The testing has included multiple simulated flying conditions, at high-altitude and sea-level, with full afterburner and STOVL operations.
Additionally, GE opened a new engine test site this year in Ohio, US, representing a multi-million dollar investment by the company in the F136 development program. Additional tests also occurred this year at GE's Evendale facility, as well as the US Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee.
The SDD phase is scheduled to run through 2013; the first production F136 engines are scheduled to be delivered in 2012 for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. This occurs during the fourth lot of F-35 aircraft production, which is very early in the overall aircraft production program. The Fighter Engine Team will deliver a total of 14 engines during the SDD phase, which will total more than 10,000 hours of testing.
About 800 engineers and technicians are engaged in the F136 program at GE Aviation's Cincinnati, Ohio, headquarters, and at Rolls-Royce facilities in Indianapolis, US; and Bristol, UK.
The F-35 is a next-generation, multi-role stealth aircraft designed to replace the AV-8B Harrier, A-10, F-16, F/A-18 Hornet and the United Kingdom's Harrier GR.7 and Sea Harrier, all of which are currently powered by GE or Rolls-Royce making them the engine powers of choice for the U.S. and U.K. militaries. Potential F-35 production for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines and international customers, including the Dutch Royal Air Force, may reach as many as 5000 to 6000 aircraft over the next 30 years.
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