The Boeing Joint Strike Fighter One Team has successfully completed the first phase of engine runs for its X-32A concept demonstration aircraft. The smooth, uneventful operation of the engine in the aircraft confirmed all performance predictions and moves the X-32A closer to its first flight.
The Pratt & Whitney F119-614 engine ran at idle power to verify system integrity, then at all power settings, from minimum to maximum afterburner. The engine was powered up eight times over a six-day period. All propulsion-system components operated as designed and experienced no anomalies. Emergency system tests and emergency shutdowns also were performed, revealing no issues.
"Engine performance was excellent," said Ad Thompson, X-32 flight-test manager. "This first phase of engine runs goes a long way toward risk reduction and validating our simulations. The engine operated just as well in the aircraft as it did on the test stand.
"This gives us further confidence that we're on the right path toward a safe and productive flight-test program," Thompson said.
Additional engine tests involving the vehicle management system, electro-magnetic interference and other aircraft performance requirements will be done before low-speed taxi tests are conducted in May. The X-32A is expected to fly this summer.
Boeing, the world's largest producer of fighter aircraft, is competing to build the JSF under a four-year concept demonstration phase contract with the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and the British Royal Air Force and Navy. A winner is scheduled to be selected in 2001.