F135 Live Fire Testing

Photo by Michael D. Jackson

The Pratt& Whitney F135 turbofan engine in the F-35 Lightning II completed a series of live fire tests in late May 2014. The testing, led by Naval Air Systems Command's Weapons Survivability Laboratory at China Lake, California, included F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing propulsion system tests; dynamic and static engine ballistic tests; and total fuel ingestion tests. These tests were aimed at better understanding the advanced engine control system; the capabilities of the main engine with battle damage; and to assess the engine's fuel ingestion tolerance. According to the US Navy's Joint Aircraft Survivability Program Office, "the test results were favorable, and in many cases, the propulsion system performed better than predicted." This series of tests was intended to mimic battlefield damage in wartime scenarios.

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