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Pratt & Whitney military engines boss makes abrupt departure

Pratt & Whitney has confirmed Bennett Croswell has been appointed new president of military engines after the abrupt departure of his predecessor Warren Boley.

Boley has "left P&W for personal reasons", the company said, only one year after he assumed control of all military production programmes, including the F135 engine powering the Lockheed Martin F-35.

The F135 programme has faced technical setbacks in recent months, despite the US military's decision to terminate the development contract for the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 alternate engine.

Quality-control problems forced Lockheed to remove five F135 engines from F-35 test aircraft in March. The issue risked disrupting the F-35's improving manufacturing schedule, drawing a public complaint from Vice Adm David Venlet, programme office executive.

In a 13 May interview, Bennett said the problems that caused the F135 quality issue had nearly been resolved.

Meanwhile, new programme documents have revealed the combat radius of the F-35A has dropped slightly below the contractual minimum. The aircraft's estimated range was reduced after the programme pulled more bleed air from the F135 to cool major electronic systems.

Extra bleed air, however, is not needed to cool the engines, which are running cooler than required in the F-35 specification, Croswell said.

Croswell takes over the military engines division after serving as vice president of the F135 and F119 engine programmes.

The latter powers the Lockheed F-22 and serves as the basis for the F135 design.

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