General Electric's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) JSF-F120 engine team has signed a $440 million contract with the JSF programme office covering Phase III of the alternative engine development effort.

The contract, consisting of $115 million covering the firm requirement for Phase III and an option for $325 million, covers engine development work from October 2000 to September 2004. It helps keep alive the GE-led team's bid to provide an alternative to Pratt & Whitney's JSF119 powerplant which has been selected as the lead engine for both JSF concept demonstrators. Like the JSF119 engine which is based on the core of the F119 in production for the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 - the JSF-F120 is a derivative of the YF120 developed for the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition.

The JSF-F120 team, which expanded last month to embrace Philips Machinefabriek (PMF) of the Netherlands, includes Allison Advanced Development (AADC) and Rolls-Royce. PMF will lead a consortium of Netherlands, Danish and Norwegian companies to join in the design, development and manufacture of parts of the propulsion system.

GE is developing a multistage blisk compressor, radial augmentor and dual control system, as well as an advanced exhaust system. R-R is developing a higher flow, three-stage, long chord hollow titanium blisk fan. AADC and GE are jointly developing a coupled turbine system. This consists of an integrated high pressure/low pressure counter-rotating turbine system.

The contract award for Phase III follows the recent successful completion of the JSF programme office's critical design review or the JSF-F120 core and the release of initial components for hardware tests. Major component tests scheduled for this year include the advanced turbine at GE and the combustor at AADC. The contract, which also includes further subsystem and component tests, is expected to lead to full engine tests for the winning JSF airframe contractor in the first half of 2003.

• Boeing has completed the first test phase on the vehicle management system (VMS)for the X-32 JSF demonstrator aircraft. The VMS operates the flight controls, environmental control system and other subsystems and is being tested on a full-scale test rig similar to that developed for the 777 commercial aircraft programme.

Source: Flight International