Flight International - 26 June 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1


fiightglobal.com 26 June-2 July 2018 | Flight International | 19

No rescue plan for
Polish procurement
Defence P

F-35 users already have offer of increased thrust and fuel efficiency

US Air Force


ratt & Whitney has added
power and thermal manage-
ment upgrades to a list of op-
tions available now for the pro-
pulsion system on the Lockheed
Martin F-35.
If funded by customers, the
Growth Option 2.0 package of
upgrades for the F135 engine
would support new avionics and
systems capabilities planned for
the stealthy fighter, says P&W
Military Engines president Mat-
thew Bromberg.
The unspecified power and
thermal management options
would add to the thrust and fuel
efficiency upgrades that P&W un-
veiled last year for the F135. Its
Growth Option 1.0 package
promised to increase thrust by
6-10% and reduce fuel burn by
5-6%, but so far the F-35 Joint
Programme Office has not funded
them, Bromberg says.
Instead, the JPO has informed
P&W that the F-35 requires addi-
tional upgrades beyond thrust
and fuel efficiency, such as great-
er electrical power generation to
support planned avionics and
system upgrades. As this is in-
creased, the F-35’s propulsion
system must also be able to ab-
sorb a larger volume of heat from
the electrical system.
The proposed new upgrades

would be available by 2023, along
with the thrust and fuel efficiency
improvements, Bromberg says.
Some changes require related
upgrades from P&W’s suppliers.
The thrust upgrade for the short
take-off and vertical landing ver-
sion of the F135, for example, must
be matched by a similar improve-
ment from the Lift Fan system:
supplier Rolls-Royce has commit-
ted to supporting the upgrade.
Under Growth Option 2.0,
however, P&W expects all the im-
provements to be limited to the
F135. Another key component of
the F-35’s power and thermal
management system – Honey-
well’s integrated power package

  • would not be affected.

How Growth Option 2.0 fits
into the F-35’s upgrade path
remains unclear. Late last year,
the JPO converted the moderni-
sation plan for the F-35 to a
different schedule. Instead of
fielding large upgrade packages
every two years via increments
known as Block 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2,
it now plans to roll out smaller
capability improvements at six-
month intervals under an initia-
tive called the Continuous Capa-
bility Development and
Delivery, or C2D2 programme.
So far, the JPO has laid out
plans for software and sensor im-
provements in the short term, but
has divulged no commitments to
insert engine upgrades. ■


he US Air Force Research
Laboratory expects to place
two contracts worth a combined
$10 million to design and test a
dual-mode ramjet engine to power
a new class of missiles and aircraft
with speeds exceeding Mach 3.
Initial task orders worth up to
$200,000 each will be signed,
linked to the enabling technolo-
gies for high-speed operable sys-
tems (ETHOS) programme.
“The overall objective is to
identify, develop, mature and
demonstrate technologies that
enable refurbishable high-speed
capability for intelligence/sur-
veillance/reconnaissance and
strike platforms by 2028, and for
quick-turn fully reusable systems
by 2035,” the AFRL said on
launching the activity in 2016.
Its ETHOS concept calls for in-
itial air-launched demonstrations
using rocket boosting to achieve
hypersonic cruise speeds, “and
later employing combined-cycle
engines that permit runway op-
erations”. Windtunnel and “free-
jet” testing will be performed
under the pending project phase,
according to an acquisition no-
tice issued in early June.
A runway-based, combined-cy-
cle propulsion system is also at the
heart of Lockheed Martin’s SR-
concept for a M6-capable un-
manned reconnaissance aircraft. ■


P&W expands F135 options

as new avionics turn up heat

Engine supplier proposes power and thermal management enhancements for Lightning II


USAF poised to

award contracts

for ETHOS trials

Thai air force expands IRIS-T capability

Bangkok will arm its Northrop F-5 fighters with IRIS-T short-range
air-to-air missiles, following the signature of a repeat order with
Diehl Defence. Thailand has previously acquired the infrared-guid-
ed weapon for its Lockheed Martin F-16 and Saab Gripen fighters.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Thailand operates 30 F-5E fight-
ers and four B/F-model trainers. The latest order from Bangkok
represents the first integration of the IRIS-T with the F-5. The mis-
sile is also operational on the Boeing F/A-18, Eurofighter Typhoon
and Panavia Tornado, and used by Austria, Germany, Greece,
Italy, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.
Peter Foster
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