As Congress gears for what is seemingly becoming an annual ritual: deciding the fate of the F-35’s F136 engine program, the General Electric/Rolls-Royce consortium developing the powerplant announced last week that it has successfully completed the engine’s critical design review, a significant milestone that moves the program closer to production. The F136 is the competing engine to Pratt & Whitney’s F135 in the F-35 program. The Pentagon did not request funding for the F136 in its Fiscal 2009 budget request, just as it did not in the two previous fiscal years, citing more pressing priorities and confidence in the progress of the F135. This places the F136 again in the hands of the Congress, which has continued to mandate funding for it. While a study issued earlier this month by the Lexington Institute supports the DOD’s one-engine approach, arguing that there is no budgetary, performance, safety, or industrial base need to maintain two F-35 engine suppliers, influential voices of support emerged last week for the F136. According to press reports, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on AirLand programs, told reporters Feb. 13 that it is “prudent” to keep the F136 program going in case there is a snafu with the F135, which incidentally did hit a snag recently. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne also weighed in last week, telling reporters that maintaining the F136 makes sense because, like life insurance, you hope that you never need it, but each year you keep buying it. GE and Rolls-Royce say they are on track to deliver the first production-configuration F136 “within a year,” leading to the first flight in the F-35 in 2010, if the program survives in its current form.
Feb. 28, 2021
In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.
Feb. 26, 2021
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Roth, NORAD’s Gen. VanHerck, U.S. Space Command’s Gen. Dickinson, Spark Tank, and more from Day 3 of the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.
Feb. 26, 2021
A crew chief and production superintendent from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., took home the 3D-printed trophy in the Department of the Air Force’s Spark Tank innovation contest for a simple idea he predicts could “solve a lot of issues across the aircraft community.” Master Sgt. Justin Bauer pitched his…
The first flight of the AGM-183A hypersonic missile will happen within a week, experts reported Feb. 26 at AFA's virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon will fly soon after a failed attempt, which was apparently due to technical and procedural glitches not related to the missile's design.
Air Combat Command is trying to move forward with an experiment it hopes will pave the way for a larger overhaul of fighter pilot training, despite pandemic-era complications. The command is working through the contracting process for the resources it needs to test the “Reforge” idea, ACC boss Gen. Mark…
Feb. 26, 2021
Nearly 140 Air National Guard personnel from Texas and Kentucky have responded to parts of Texas that were devastated by Winter Storm Uri, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh told reporters Feb. 26. The polar vortex ravaged Texas’ power grid and deprived many citizens of running water.
The head of Air Combat Command isn't sure the cost of operating the F-35 will hit the desired $25,000 per hour by 2025, and he's headed out to meetings to see what can be done to make it happen. He's also concerned that China will beat the U.S. to 6th-generation…
The Pentagon’s new Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military has 90 days to find ways to combat the problem within the ranks, and the group will consider all options to address an issue that has “shattered the dreams” of many service members who joined with optimism about…
Feb. 26, 2021
Air Education and Training Command has incorporated a focus on human performance optimization—which includes personal resilience, health, fitness, diet, and mental performance—into its Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 program, 19th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills said at the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.