F136 Issue Identified

The General Electric-Rolls Royce team developing the F136 engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter expects to resume ground testing in late December or early January following identification of the root cause of a test engine issue that arose in September. GE spokesman Rick Kennedy told the Daily Report Wednesday that, during a planned boresight inspection of test engine No. 005 after it had “experienced normal operation and controlled shutdown” during a run to maximum power, the test team discovered damage to some turbine blades. Team engineers subsequently determined that this was caused by “small pieces of a diffuser panel mounting lug” that had come off. Kennedy said modified diffuser panels are being manufactured. He noted that this issue “does not require a re-design of the combustor.” This is contrary to an assertion made earlier this week at the Lexington Institute’s blog. (See also Lexington’s follow-on entry.)