Five facts about the most advanced fighter engine in the world

An F-35B Lightning II is scheduled to soar over Royal Air Force Fairford on Friday and Saturday. When it does, patrons of the Royal International Air Tattoo are sure to see, hear and feel the power of Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine.

The F-35B is the short takeoff, vertical landing, or STOVL, variant of the F-35 fighter. It is the first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft in the world. And it is one of the newest additions to the Royal Air Force fleet.

Pratt & Whitney’s F135 propulsion system is a technological marvel. It brings unmatched advances in safety, design, performance and reliability. Here are five things you may not know about the most advanced fighter engine in the world:

1. It is incredibly powerful.

The F135 engine can go from flight idle to maximum power in about six seconds. That thrust – all 40,000+ pounds of it – enables the F-35B to reach a top speed of Mach 1.6, (1,227 mph), making it the first supersonic, stealth STOVL aircraft in the world.

2. It is precise.

In STOVL mode, the F135’s advanced engine controls are twice as accurate as the controls on legacy engines, which allow the F-35 to hold its wings level in high winds and other extreme weather conditions. This is made possible by the propulsion system making 480 adjustments per second.

3. It is the most digital military engine ever.

The F135’s Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) processes over 1,000,000,000 instructions per second, and generates six times more data than legacy engines. The F135 also has five times more sensors than legacy engines. Increased FADEC capability and sensor count generates consistent thrust performance and enhanced diagnostic coverage to detect potential issues before they happen.

4. It builds on Pratt & Whitney’s legacy of single engine safety.

Pratt & Whitney has a strong legacy of single engine fighter safety with the F100 for the F-16. The F135 builds upon this legacy with a Non-Recoverable In-Flight Shutdown (NRIFSD) rate 13 times better than fourth generation fighter engines. The F135 also features two FADECs on board as well as two Electro-Hydraulic Servo Valves (EHSV) on every actuator, providing dual redundancy for these critical systems.

5. It generates jobs across the U.S. and around the world.

The F135 program supports 33,000 jobs in the U.S. and provides $41B in industrial participation for international partner nations. More than 220 suppliers in 31 U.S. states and 60 suppliers in 12 countries provide parts for the F135.

Click here to learn more about the F135 engine.

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