GUY NORRIS / LOS ANGELES Search stepped up as JSF programme office calls for greater overseas involvement

Pratt & Whitney hopes to formalise agreements with international Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F135 engine partners outside Rolls-Royce within the next few weeks.

P&W vice-president Tom Farmer, head of the F135 programme, says: "We are concentrating on Italy and the Netherlands. We are in discussions with Fiat and we are ready with the Netherlands. We are awaiting a final government decision on their part, and we would hope to be signed up with Italy by the end of this year."


The search for partners is being stepped up following calls for greater overseas involvement from the JSF programme office. Italy and the Netherlands have been identified as near-term signatories as Level Two contributors. Talks with other nations continue.

"We are pursuing international partnerships in concert with Lockheed Martin, the US Government and the UK," says Farmer, adding: "We want to grow our team of sharing partners in the SDD [system development and demonstration] phase." He says other nations, including Norway, are expected to sign up next year.

Although P&W does not identify Dutch companies, they are believed to be Fokker Elmo and Interturbine. In 2000, P&W discussed a potential European F135 support base with KLM.

General Electric, which last year signed up Netherlands-based Philips Machinefabrieken (PMF) to its competing F136 team, has been awarded a $411 million follow-on development contract, covering continued test work on the F120-derived JSF alternative engine. The programme is aiming for a first full engine test in late 2004. The first production-standard F136 for the Lockheed Martin F-35 conventional take-off variant is due for tests in 2007. The F136 should be available as an alternative to the F135 from around 2010/2011.

Source: Flight International