Fighter jets flying in formation
Tech & Auto
F-35: The Turbofan Engine That Powers The Most Advanced Fighter Jets
Rather than executing a previously planned upgrade program, the F-35 Lightning II’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, suggested replacing the aircraft’s current engine altogether.
However, the jet’s current Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine is impressive in its own right and will continue to power the F-35 for the foreseeable future.
The single F135 engine in the F-35 is rated at 43,000 pounds of thrust while utilizing its afterburner, which is more than the two engines powering the F-14 jet combined.
There are three F135 variants: One for conventional takeoffs and landings, one specialized for use on aircraft carriers, and a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) version.
Another key feature is reliability. The F135 uses fewer parts than other engines and only needs six common tools available at any hardware store for maintenance.
Also onboard is a Health Management System that transmits real-time data to maintenance personnel on the ground, who can prepare any necessary parts before the aircraft even lands.