F136 Experiences Test Anomaly

An F136 test engine incurred damage to airfoils in its front fan and compressor area while running at near maximum fan speed last week at General Electric’s facility in Evendale, Ohio, GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy said Tuesday. He said development engine #008 is currently being disassembled for a thorough investigation. “All indications are that the cause of the incident is unique to this engine, and the other test engines are continuing to run,” said Kennedy. F136 test engines have run for more than 1,000 hours since early 2009 without experiencing this issue, he noted. A GE-Rolls Royce team is developing the F136 to power future F-35 strike fighters as a competitive alternative to Pratt & Whitney’s F135. The F136 program is fighting for its survival on Capitol Hill, as the Pentagon leadership wants to halt its development in Fiscal 2011 and proceed solely with the F135.