EVENDALE, Ohio - The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team has successfully accomplished the Phase III Critical Design Review (CDR) of its F136 propulsion systems for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The JSF Joint Program Office (JPO) determined that the GE Rolls-Royce team met all the review objectives, clearing the way for the first full engine tests in July 2004. 

The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team comprises: GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Rolls-Royce plc in Bristol, UK and Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.  

In their respective reports, both the JPO and prime contractor Lockheed Martin acknowledged the F136 team’s success. 

"The exceptional rigor applied by the GE/RR team in maintaining a 'product-like' focus for this Pre-System and Development Demonstration (SDD) has thoroughly addressed the program's risk reduction objectives and well-positions the F136 for entering SDD," said Fred Schwartz, JSF Technical Director and CDR Chairman. 

"Successful completion of the CDR has validated our expected performance goals against the aircraft system, and verified that we are on track for weight and cost requirements, " said Bob Griswold, general manager for the JSF program at GEAE.  

The CDR milestone involved an independent audit of the Fighter Engine Team's design progress and was undertaken by a team of specialists appointed by the JPO. 

"We're extremely pleased with the CDR results," said Tom Hartmann, vice president for JSF programs at Rolls-Royce. "Our aim has been to make our design as close to the final engine configuration as possible, thereby minimizing changes and reducing risk in the SDD phase." 

Current development work is under the four-year Phase III JSF program. This pre-SDD phase, performed under a $453 million contract, runs through 2005. With the CDR successfully completed, contract award for the SDD phase is due in 2005. 

Designed specifically for the JSF program, the F136 will be fully interchangeable and affordable to meet all of the aircraft variants. Engines will be tested for all JSF variants during Phase III: Short Takeoff Vertical Landing (STOVL) for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.K. Royal Navy, Conventional Takeoff/Landing (CTOL) for the U.S. Air Force, and the Carrier Variant (CV) for the U.S. Navy. 

GE Aircraft Engines, with responsibility for 60 percent of the program, is developing the core-compressor and turbine system components, and the augmentor. Rolls-Royce, with 40 percent of the program, is responsible for the front fan, combustor, Stage 2 & 3 of the Low Pressure Turbine, and gearboxes. GE and Rolls-Royce are jointly developing an integrated high-pressure/low-pressure counter-rotating turbine design. Philips Aerospace in the Netherlands will provide compressor and fan components, and Avio in Italy is responsible for structural components for the low-pressure turbine and will participate in the development of the accessory gearbox.