Pratt & Whitney announced May 20 that the first F135 engine has been delivered to the F-35 Final Assembly Check Out facility in Cameri, Novara, Italy.
This engine – the 137th delivered to date – is also the first F135 engine produced in Pratt & Whitney’s West Palm Beach Engine Center; the company’s brand new, state-of-the-art 97,000-square-foot production facility in Florida.
Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company.
“We are very proud of the team here and the dedicated effort to build the first production F135 engine,” said Eric Ross, general manager of the West Palm Beach Engine Center. “We broke ground on this facility in April of 2013, and began production of our first F135 in December. We not only started on time, but we also successfully met our target delivery date on the first engine to the Italian FACO.”
Engines produced in the new West Palm Beach facility are built to the same exacting build standards as engines in the Middletown, Connecticut, production facility. Pratt & Whitney has been doing test and validation work on F135 development engines in West Palm Beach as part of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program for more than 14 years. This new assembly capability, in addition to the existing comprehensive test capability at the West Palm Beach site, provides added capacity as the F135 program ramps up production.
“Italy has been a vital partner on the F-35 program from the start of the program. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the F-35 program as we begin to deliver engines outside of the U.S.,” said Cheryl Lobo, director, F135 Programs. “The Italian industrial base is ramping up their product and will continue to support production and sustainment for decades to come.”
Italy is currently planning on buying a combination of F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variants and F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing jets. With this mix of aircraft, Italian forces will be able to land virtually anywhere, including bases, damaged airstrips, remote locations and air-capable ships.