Pratt & Whitney has begun the final phase of endurance tests on the production configuration F119 engine for the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 in the run-up to a decision on Lot 1 production approval in December.

"We're there," says F119/F-22 programme director Tom Farmer, adding that more than 10,000h of ground tests and 620h of flight tests have been performed on the three F-22 test aircraft. The engine tests are running through sea level endurance tests at P&W's West Palm Beach site in Florida, before being moved to the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee for simulated high altitude cycles. "We will 'dwell' the engine at altitude to make small steps in rpm to make sure the margin is there for all parts of the envelope," he says.

The final test phase hopes to guarantee compressor stall margin and stability, durability margins, damping in the flow path as well as cooling margins for the turbine. The engine is expected to accumulate 4,330 cycles by "early next year" says Farmer, who adds that it will then be torn down, inspected and refurbished before being run for a further 4,330 cycles. Combined test time will equate to 17 years of front-line service.

P&W is also working on a second generation "lean" manufacturing line for a new configuration nozzle at Connecticut as part of the company's plans to consolidate its assembly work in East Hartford. The nozzle "business centre", which along with the combustor work for the F119 will occupy 25% of the space used during the engineering, manufacturing and development phase, is expected to move to Connecticut by September.

Source: Flight International