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F-35 Engine Running Too Hot Due To ‘Under-Speccing,’ Upgrade Now Vital


F-35 Engine Running Too Hot Due To ‘Under-Speccing,’ Upgrade Now Vital
The F-35’s engine is having to work harder to cool and power the aircraft’s systems, leading to a logistical mess.


The U.S. military sees planned engine upgrades for all the variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as critical because the Pratt & Whitney F135 engines that power all of the aircraft have been "under spec since the beginning," according to the top officer in charge of the program. This means the engines have to routinely operate at higher-than-expected temperatures, which has led to costly increased maintenance and logistics requirements and hurt the F-35's overall readiness rates.

Senior U.S. military officials stressed the F135 engine's limitations while defending a plan to pursue an Engine Core Upgrade (ECU) effort before members of a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee yesterday.

The Pentagon's Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposal, released earlier this month, revealed that the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps had decided not to seek an all-new engine for their F-35s, building on the Advanced Engine Transition Program (AETP), due high expected costs and technical hurdles. The Air Force has said that work done under AETP will feed into its follow-on Next Generation Adaptive Propulsion (NGAP) program.


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