High Standards for JSF Engine?

According to a report by the online journal DOD Buzz, which talked with Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David Heinz, who heads the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program office, there’s been some cost increase related to quality control with Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine which powers the F-35. When asked about the increase during the July 28 rollout of the Navy’s first F-35C, Heinz told DOD Buzz, “I am pushing very hard on Pratt to do better.” According to the news report, P&W has thrown out “up to 50 percent of parts” that have failed JSF standards. Heinz said he expects at least 80 percent of parts to meet the standards. Meanwhile, P&W reports in a July 28 release that it has accumulated more than 15,600 test hours with its F135 engine. The company’s VP for the engine program said that the F135’s “successful ground and flight test programs … demonstrates the dependability and reliability of Pratt & Whitney’s F135 propulsion system and the maturity that comes with the first production engines that we will deliver later this year.” P&W says the program is on track with delivery of the first seven production engines. In a July 22 release, the company noted that DOD has awarded it a $571 million production contract for low rate initial production of the third lot of F135 engines in a mix of 10 for USAF’s F-35A and 11 for USMC’s F-35B variants. And, the company received another $113 million for long lead materiel procurement for the fourth lot of engines.