Monday, December 14, 2009

The Independent: "US threat to Rolls-Royce's fighter engine"

London's Independent reports on the latest problems with the F136:

Loren Thompson, an analyst at America's Lexington Institute, believes Rolls-Royce's engine could be running as much as a year behind schedule. "GE and Rolls can no longer hold to their baseline schedule, and are being forced to replan their entire programme," he said.

A report by Lexington says Rolls-Royce managed just 52 hours of testing this year, because of "four major [engine] failures". The report said the engine would not be ready to benchmark against P&W until 2016. A Rolls-Royce source called this "rubbish".

Rolls-Royce's latest setback involves redesigning a component that helps hold the engine together. A spokesman for the Rolls-Royce/GE joint venture in the US said the re-design was not a particularly complex job and full testing would resume early next year. He said: "The [engine] programme continues to operate within budget and has met all major milestones on schedule ... The engine has accumulated over 550 hours of test time, with more than 800 hours of test since the programme began."

Full story here...

Friday, December 11, 2009

DoD Buzz: F136 Tests Lag Four Months

DoD Buzz has the latest on the alternate engine. The story notes that the backup engine program currently has a "$30 mil­lion a month burn rate" but only 52 hours of testing complete on product-​​configuration engines.

Full story here.