THE GENERAL Electric/ Allison/Rolls-Royce team plans to run its YF120-FX alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in 2002, two years ahead of the original schedule.

Bringing the programme forward will allow competition between the YF120 and Pratt & Whitney's F119-based JSF engine to begin with the fourth production lot of aircraft, scheduled for delivery in 2010.

Ground-testing of the YF120-FX core is to begin in mid-2000, under the team's $110 million alternate-engine contract, says Larry Burns, president of Allison Advanced Development. The team hopes to be under contract by October for the next phase of the contract, leading to ground demonstration of a full turbofan engine by mid-2002.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are competing to develop the JSF. The YF120-FX core will be common to both designs, says Burns. The JSF contest is to be decided in 2001, with development of an F120 tailored to the winning design scheduled to begin in late 2003, leading to flight tests in mid-2006.

Derived from the engine which GE offered to power the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22, the YF120-FX will benefit from the continuing US Integrated High Performance Turbine Engine Technology programme. The combustor, high-pressure turbine and bearings will be derived from the GE/Allison XTC-76 Advanced Technology Engine Gas Generator, to be run in early 1998, and the XTE-76 Joint Technology Demonstrator Engine, to be run early in 2000.

Source: Flight International