Corrosion testing of the F135 engine, the afterburning turbofan developed for the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, is being performed in one of the sea level test cells at Arnold Engineering Development Complex, Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn.
According to AEDC Aeropropulsion Test Branch deputy director Mike Dent, the F135 engine is undergoing propulsion testing in the SL-3 test facility to see how it performs in the corrosive sea-air environment.
“During this type of test, we simulate sea air by mixing a brine solution into the ambient air supply,” he said. “The F135 is then run through simulated sorties and on-deck tie down exposure.”
After running the engine for an extended period, an inspection is performed on the engine and the testing process is then repeated.
According to Dent, the goal of corrosion testing on the engine is to assist in preparing the F-35 fleet for Naval operational deployment.
All-weather climatic testing of the F-35 took place at McKinley Climatic Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in 2014 to assess the entire aircraft in wind, solar radiation, fog, humidity, rain intrusion/ingestion, freezing rain, icing cloud, icing build-up, vortex icing and snow. In addition to withstanding sea level conditions, the aircraft level tests at MCL indicate how the F-35 aircraft will perform in a multitude of climatic environments.
The Lighting II is a multi-role, multi-service, single seat, single engine strike fighter featuring next generation stealth technology. It delivers 5th Generation airpower essential to mutual security strategy and yields multi-dimensional capabilities to defeat 21st century threats and enables joint and coalition partners to conduct shoulder-to-shoulder operations in future conflicts.