Pratt & Whitney F135 engine certificated for Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF maiden flight

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Pratt & Whitney has been granted provisional certification for its F135 engine to allow it to power the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter's first flight later this year.

The F135 has achieved an initial flight release from the F-35 joint programme office (JPO) this week following the verification of all engine run tests. Robert Burnes, JPO F-35 propulsion director, cleared the engine for F-35 maiden flight purposes for the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant.

“Receiving the JPO’s initial flight release is an important milestone for the Joint Strike Fighter programme and the F135 team. JPO approval qualifies the P&W engine to power the Lightning II first flight and flight test programme,” says Bill Gostic, vice president, F135 engine programmes for P&W.

P&W's recent tests concluded in a full afterburner test with 40,000lb-thrust (178kN) achieved.

The first flight of the JSF is scheduled for next month.