Rolls-Royce has signed a production contract totalling $216 million for the innovative LiftSystems that provide powered lift capability to the F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
The agreement with F-35 propulsion integrator Pratt & Whitney will include 13 LiftSystems, plus additional program labour, spares and tooling. The agreement covers the next batch of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP 9). An additional contract for LRIP 10 is expected later in the summer, and will cover deliveries through 2018. Rolls-Royce’s investment in production improvement has lowered the cost for the LiftSystem.
Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Defence, said, “This new contract reflects continued confidence in the technology and capability of the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem. At the same time, we continue to focus on improving affordability for the customer, driving improvements into our production system. Rolls-Royce is proud to be involved in the F-35B Lightning II program, the most advanced fighter jet in production in the world today.”
The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem includes the LiftFan, 3-Bearing Swivel Module, roll posts, shaft and vane box. The propulsion system, powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, enables the F-35B to perform short take-offs and vertical landings, as well as provide hover capability. Together, the propulsion system provides more than 40,000 lbs. of downward thrust, and are activated by one-button operation in the cockpit.
Rolls-Royce is the only company in the world to develop vertical lift capability for fighter jets currently in production. F-35 pilots say the LiftSystem has proven to be extremely stable and dependable in flight, yet simple to operate.
In addition to the LiftSystem for the F-35B, the Rolls-Royce legacy in powered lift includes the Pegasus, which powers the F-35B’s predecessor, the Harrier; the AE 1107C engines that power the V-22; and powerful, lightweight turboshaft engines that are ubiquitous in the helicopter industry.