Pratt & Whitney is planning further F100 engine life extension upgrades using F119-derived technology following the completion of a US Air Force accelerated mission test (AMT) on an F100-229 containing the latest upgrade package.

P&W says the AMT results prove that the F100's past reliability and durability problems are behind it. The test included more than 14,000 afterburner lights over 4,565 simulated cycles at "worse case scenario mission conditions".

Dennis Enos, vice president operational engine programmes, says the AMT should strengthen P&W's defence of its exclusive position on USAF Boeing F-15Es, despite General Electric's efforts to offer the F110-129 for the aircraft on a no-obligation trial.

The -229 upgrade is centred on hot section durability modifications including changes to the combustor, low and high pressure turbine sections as well as modification to the compressor, fan and accessories.

Following the AMT, P&W plans to "look at what we have got, and see what lessons have been learned before we see what can further improve," says Enos. The immediate focus is on potential hot section robustness improvements using F119-derived coating and cooling technology.

The company is already developing the higher thrust F100-232 using F119 aerodynamic and fan technology, and plans to use other aspects of the Lockheed Martin/ Boeing F-22 Raptor engine to support F100 life extension and sustainment.

P&W and the USAF are also planning to start a 'Pacer' test for the upgraded F100-220 on the Lockheed Martin F-16. The USAF expects to complete the retrofit the fleet with the reliability enhancement package within six months and the Pacer - or "lead the fleet" tests - will be run to expose long-term problems before they appear in service.

Source: Flight International