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Pratt & Whitney has completed qualification for the F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex (OC-ALC), located at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, US.

Undertaken in collaboration with the US Air Force (USAF), the capability to conduct engine testing represents a key requirement to perform depot maintenance on the F135 engines, which power the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.

In addition to engine testing, the OC-ALC is also qualified to perform maintenance and repair work on fan modules of the power plant.

The USAF relocated a T-9 test cell from Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to the OC-ALC, and worked closely with Pratt to design, develop and qualify the test capability.

The milestone marks the first time a T-9 test cell has been qualified for testing of a fifth-generation engine.

Pratt & Whitney and the USAF have joined forces to perform depot maintenance on F117, F119 and F135 engines at the OC-ALC, as well as special technology coatings operations.

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Under the partnership arrangement, the company provides the overall management, technical support and materials management at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center (HMC), while the USAF provides highly capable mechanics and extensive back-shop capabilities.

"The F135 HMC is open for business."

Pratt & Whitney Oklahoma City Operations general manager Sam Anderson said: "The F135 HMC is open for business.

"We have completed the first fan module repair and first retrofit engine, and we are focused on upgrading F135 propulsion systems for [the] Marine Corps IOC in 2015."

The OC-ALC is scheduled to complete the remainder of its F135 qualifications and be fully activated as the first F135 depot by the fourth quarter of 2015.

A derivative of the combat-proven F119-PW-100 engine, the F135 is an after-burning two-shaft engine, featuring advanced prognostics, health management systems and technologies that were developed in other air force and navy technology programmes.

Image: The F135 engine powers the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft. Photo: courtesy of MSgt John Nimmo Sr.

Defence Technology