General Electric has received $96 million from the US Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)programme office to carry out further development of the core of its YF120-FX advanced fighter powerplant, as part of the JSF Alternate Engine Programme.

GE, which is teamed with Rolls-Royce and the UK company's Allison Engine subsidiary, says that the initial four-year study is expected to be followed by a turbofan-development programme, starting in 2001. A full-scale engineering and manufacturing development contract could follow in 2004, the company adds.

The YF120 was chosen in mid-1996 as an alternative to the Pratt &Whitney F119, which has been selected by Boeing and Lockheed Martin for their competing JSF designs, after the US Congress directed that a second powerplant should be developed to minimise the risk of engine problems putting the 3,000-aircraft programme in jeopardy.

The YF120 was originally developed and flight-tested in the early 1990s under the US Air Force's Advanced Tactical Fighter engine competition.

The -FX derivative will use Allison's "hot section" technology and an R-R-developed advanced fan, and it will also have GE's low-observable inlet/exhaust system.

Source: Flight International