“The F135 engine being developed by Pratt & Whitney has experienced some cost growth and production issues consistent with new engine programs at this stage of development and transition to production. We are working closely with the F-35 Joint Program Office in an aggressive cost reduction effort to address these issues and ensure the engine achieves its learned-out cost targets on schedule. Pratt & Whitney is entirely focused on executing the plans that have been established to ensure a successful program.
There are absolutely no product quality issues with fielded F135 engines, and the engines that have been delivered for flight testing have performed without issue. Pratt & Whitney is working to mature production processes to increase yield rates, as is typical with any new engine program at this stage of development. Pratt & Whitney is performing at 70 to 80 percent yield for some components and will improve as the production process is learned out. Many components are being manufactured at much better yields, having benefited from learning on the F119 engine program.
Pratt & Whitney is on a projected learning curve and the company is confident that we will deliver the results of a learned-out manufacturing process that will ultimately bring reduced costs and improved yield to the program.
Recently the F-35 Joint Program Office sponsored several independent reviews of Pratt & Whitney’s plans to reduce cost and ramp up manufacturing capability. The reviews concluded that:
· Pratt & Whitney has an excellent process control and certification program in place for the F135 engine
· The Supplier Management program at Pratt & Whitney is the best program reviewed to date
· The Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) program – Pratt & Whitney’s Quality Operating System – provides six sigma zero defects and is embedded in the corporate culture
With these recent findings, we are confident that we are on the right path to continue to deliver a successful product for the F-35 program and realize the benefits of a learned-out manufacturing process in the near future.
The F135 engine program remains on track to support overall F-35 development and transition to production. Pratt & Whitney is scheduled to deliver the first seven production F135 engines later this year. The F135 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) engine and short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion system continue to power the F-35 Lightning II flight test programs with 113 flights and more than 134 flight test hours.
The Pratt & Whitney F135 engine has surpassed 12,000 engine test hours as part of the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase of the development program. This achievement, in addition to the 3,600 test hours accumulated during the F-35 concept demonstration program, puts F135 engine test hours at more than 15,600.”
# # #