F-35 Jet’s overworked engines may cost Pentagon $38 billion in upkeep
    Report by Bloomberg

    WORLD  31 May 2023 - 13:23

    Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 may need $38 billion in extra engine overhauls in coming decades to meet increasing demands to help cool radar and other components of the fighter jet, according to government auditors.

    “The cooling system is over-tasked, requiring the engine to operate beyond its design parameters,” the Government Accountability Office said on May 30 in its annual report on the $412 billion acquisition program for the F-35, the world’s costliest weapons system, Bloomberg reports.

    “The extra heat is increasing the wear on the engine, reducing its life and adding $38 billion in maintenance costs,” it was added.

    Barring an effective fix, engine overhauls that may come sooner than expected will add another to-do item to the Pentagon’s $1.3 trillion estimate to operate and maintain the fleet of F-35s over 77 years of operation.

    The engine issue concerns the aircraft’s “power and thermal management system,” which transfers pressure from the fighter’s single-engine, directing the flow to cool other components. The more air pressure transferred, the hotter the engine runs.

    The power system, based on specifications designed years ago by a Lockheed subcontractor, can’t keep up with the cooling demands of the jet’s increasingly complex avionics as well as new capabilities already installed or planned through 2035 during a current upgrade program called Block 4, the GAO said.

    The GAO’s annual report also discloses that the cost of the Block 4 upgrade has grown by an additional $1 billion, to $16.5 billion, and that half of Lockheed’s 2022 aircraft deliveries were late.

    Global Interest

    On the positive side for Lockheed, the F-35’s international profile has never been higher. Global interest has increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and amid increased tensions with China. South Korea has indicated it wants more of the jets, and two US Air Force F-35 units have flown deterrence patrols over Europe. Twelve military services worldwide have declared the F-35 operational.

    Asked about the cooling system issue before the release of the GAO report, Lockheed said in a statement that “capabilities have continued to mature based on customer needs” and it “has efforts underway to account for and support these requirements.” 

    Lockheed said that the original design specifications for the power system were made by a team that included Lockheed, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric Co., Rolls Royce Plc and government representatives.

    In separate comments, before the GAO report was released, the Defense Department’s F-35 program office said the operational life of the F-35 engine is estimated to decrease by as much as 20 per cent, including the Block 4 upgrades because they are running hotter than originally designed. 

    The crucial “hot section” of the engine in the Air Force’s F-35A model is projected to need an overhaul every 1,600 flying hours rather than the specified 2,000 flying hours, it said. The Air Force is the largest F-35 customer.

    The Pentagon’s F-35 program office said it’s “already very confident we can minimize” the potential $38 billion impact with a new “Engine Core Upgrade.”

    There are also multiple options under review to improve the cooling system that are in the early design phase, it said. Both improvements are expected to be deployed in the early 2030s, it said.

    “Lockheed Martin developed and provided the engine performance and interface requirements” in 2001 “that the government put on contract to Pratt & Whitney,” the program office said.

    Caliber.Az

    Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Read also

New Caledonia pro-independence leader charged after deadly riots

23 June 2024 - 17:31

Why US volcano keeping scientists up at night?

24 June 2024 - 04:02

F-16 fighter jets set to counter Russian air superiority in Kharkiv region

23 June 2024 - 17:15

Russia hits its own chopper? First Ka-29 downed amid Ukrainian drone attack

24 June 2024 - 02:03

America beats hydrogen with new fuel

23 June 2024 - 22:02

California filmed the Northrup’s massive undersea "monster" weapon

24 June 2024 - 00:04
ADVERTS
Video
Latest news

    Why US volcano keeping scientists up at night?

    24 June 2024 - 04:02

    Russia hits its own chopper?

    First Ka-29 downed amid Ukrainian drone attack

    24 June 2024 - 02:03

    Terrorist attacks in Russia's Dagestan kill 9, injure 25

    VIDEO

    24 June 2024 - 00:08

    California filmed the Northrup’s massive undersea "monster" weapon

    24 June 2024 - 00:04

    America beats hydrogen with new fuel

    23 June 2024 - 22:02

    Romanian village set to become Nato's biggest airbase in Europe

    23 June 2024 - 20:03

    Armenian PM announces failure of protest movement

    23 June 2024 - 17:59

    Iran prepares for extraordinary presidential polls following tragic helicopter crash

    23 June 2024 - 17:46

    New Caledonia pro-independence leader charged after deadly riots

    23 June 2024 - 17:31

    F-16 fighter jets set to counter Russian air superiority in Kharkiv region

    23 June 2024 - 17:15

    Ukrainian forces strike Sevastopol with ATACMS missiles - Russia

    23 June 2024 - 16:55

    Tandem of puppets

    Pundit’s analysis

    23 June 2024 - 16:35

    Russia restructures & replaces Wagner group post-mutiny

    23 June 2024 - 16:20

    Azerbaijani Defense Ministry presents weekly review

    VIDEO

    23 June 2024 - 16:02

    EU suggests bilateral mechanism to investigate Armenia-Azerbaijan ceasefire violations

    23 June 2024 - 15:46

    Armenia's truce violations amid rising tensions & strategic weapons deals with France

    Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it

    23 June 2024 - 15:31

    Iran announces offshore rial project

    23 June 2024 - 15:16

    India's Modi to skip annual SCO Summit in Kazakhstan in July

    23 June 2024 - 14:56

    Azerbaijani Air Force's Karabakh Casket strategy marked for role in Patriotic War victory

    PHOTO

    23 June 2024 - 14:26

    Macron urges French not to vote for “extremes” during parliamentary elections

    23 June 2024 - 14:11

    Israeli defence minister heads to Washington

    Touting importance of ties with US

    23 June 2024 - 13:51

    Vietnam elevates US to its highest diplomatic status

    23 June 2024 - 13:35

    America’s failed diplomatic approach towards Beijing & its business community

    23 June 2024 - 13:16

    EU high rep compares Europe to “garden” and rest countries to “jungle”

    Are Borrell's statements important?

    23 June 2024 - 12:40

    Pakistan announces national counter-terrorism campaign

    23 June 2024 - 12:24

    Azerbaijan to hold Forum of Non-Governmental Organisations in liberated lands for first time

    23 June 2024 - 12:09

    Iran's UN envoy highlights commitment to combating extremism & supporting Afghanistan at SC meeting

    23 June 2024 - 11:55

    Ukraine pushing US to strike high-value targets inside Russia using ATACMS

    Article by Associated Press

    23 June 2024 - 11:39

    Armenia’s military build-up & western alignments risk renewed conflict

    Baku warns Yerevan

    23 June 2024 - 11:39

    Russian president awards ambassador to Azerbaijan Order of Alexander Nevsky

    23 June 2024 - 11:24

    Serbia turns blind eye to its ammunition ending up in Ukraine

    Article by Financial Times

    23 June 2024 - 11:09

    European forum of Azerbaijani engineers begins in Germany, promotes collaboration & innovation

    23 June 2024 - 10:54

    Azerbaijan organises media tours on eve of Armed Forces Day

    PHOTO / VIDEO

    23 June 2024 - 10:39

    Seoul arms supplies to Ukraine depend on Russia-DPRK military cooperation - official

    23 June 2024 - 10:35

    Iran’s Supreme Leader urges presidential candidates to avoid divisive rhetoric

    23 June 2024 - 10:20

    Israeli media: Hezbollah may initiate large-scale military campaign

    23 June 2024 - 10:05

    Armenia proposes Azerbaijan to create mechanism for investigating ceasefire violations

    23 June 2024 - 09:49

    Azerbaijani Kalbajar District again under Armenian fire

    23 June 2024 - 09:34

    Steering through tangled web of conflict & peace between Azerbaijan & Armenia

    High time to do away with a vicious circle

    23 June 2024 - 09:17

    Greece to receive 164 M2A2 Bradleys

    Including 62 as free aid from US

    23 June 2024 - 08:55

All news