Pratt & Whitney announced April 27 that its F119 engine, the power behind the only fielded fifth-generation fighter—the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor—has surpassed 100,000 operational flight hours of service. “With more than 100,000 operational flight hours, the F119 engine is truly a proven and mature fifth-generation engine,” said Tyler Evans, P&W’s F119 program director. Evans noted that the “flight experience we have on the F119 will deliver built-in maturity for the F135 engine, the lead propulsion system on the F-35 Lightning II,” Lockheed’s stealthy strike fighter. P&W currently produces the only F-35 engine, but Congress has repeatedly pressed the Pentagon to continue with an alternative engine, the F136 being developed by General Electric.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.