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Friday, May 30, 2008

Pratt & Whitney's F135 Powers First F-35B STOVL-Mode Test

EAST HARTFORD, Conn., May 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pratt & Whitney's F135 short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) propulsion system powered the first F-35B Lightning II's STOVL-mode ground test at Lockheed Martin's STOVL Operations Test Facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Completion of the ground test demonstrates the aircraft's ability to convert between horizontal and vertical flight. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

"Completion of this STOVL ground test brings us a step closer to powering the F-35 Lightning II STOVL variant's first flight in early June," said Bill Gostic, Pratt & Whitney vice president, F135 engine programs.

The highly integrated STOVL aircraft is driven by mission-control software directed by a pilot. This STOVL test provides confidence that the F135 propulsion system, flight controls, and airframe systems work together, allowing the jet to transition smoothly between horizontal and vertical power modes.

The test objectives included functional checks of the propulsion and flight control software, the lift fan upper and lower doors, the auxiliary inlet doors, and the thrust vectoring three bearing swivel duct and nozzle. Idle power conversions from horizontal to vertical flight were conducted in a sequence of steps to verify standard system operation prior to a fully automated conversion.

This milestone is one of many recent achievements for Pratt & Whitney's F135 propulsion system. On May 14, Pratt & Whitney received a statement of qualification for the F135 STOVL propulsion system from the F-35 Joint Program Office which certifies Pratt & Whitney's F135-PW-600 STOVL propulsion system for flight operations. The F135 has previously completed sea level testing and accelerated mission testing for endurance and durability qualification. The F135 has exceeded 9,700 test hours in the system development and demonstration ground test program and the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) engine continues to power the F-35 Lightning II flight test program with 41 flights and more than 49 flight test hours to date.

Rated at more than 40,000 pounds of thrust, the F135 is the most powerful fighter engine ever built. The technologically advanced F135 is an evolution of the highly successful F119 engine for the F-22 Raptor. By the time the F- 35 enters operation in 2013, the F119 engines will have logged more than 600,000 flight hours and the F135 will have completed more than 16,000 test hours. These achievements will provide maturity and the associated reliability to the F135 engine.

The F135 propulsion system team consists of Pratt & Whitney, the prime contractor with responsibility for the main engine and system integration; Rolls-Royce of the United Kingdom, provides lift components for the STOVL F- 35B; and UTC's Hamilton Sundstrand unit is the provider of the engine control system and gearbox.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

    Stephanie Duvall                          Jennifer Whitlow
    Pratt & Whitney Military Engines          Pratt & Whitney
    860.557.1382                              860.565.9600
    stephanie.duvall@pw.utc.com               jennifer.whitlow@pw.utc.com
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