Pentagon says nearing fix for F-35 engine, Pratt to pay

WASHINGTON Wed Sep 3, 2014 7:16pm EDT

An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off on a training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in this March 6, 2012 file photo.  REUTERS/U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon/Handout

An F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter takes off on a training sortie at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in this March 6, 2012 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo/Randy Gon/Handout

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials said on Wednesday they were nearing a fix for the engine that powers Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet and the United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) unit that makes the engine has agreed to pay to retrofit 156 already delivered.

Pentagon chief arms buyer Frank Kendall told reporters that the U.S. military was close to determining the root cause of a major engine failure in June, and test fixtures were being set up to ensure that Pratt's proposed corrective actions were acceptable and adequate.

The failure of Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine grounded the entire F-35 fleet for several weeks this summer and prevented the newest and most advanced U.S. warplane from making its international debut at two UK air shows. Flights have resumed but with certain restrictions on speed and other maneuvers.

"I am getting, over time, more confident that we've got our arms around that problem and are solving it," Kendall said after a defense conference.

Asked about the cost of addressing the issue that destroyed the engine on an Air Force F-35A model at Eglin Air Force Base on June 23, he said, "I don’t think it’s going to be a huge cost. I think it's a relatively minor cost."

Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the Pentagon's F-35 program chief, told the conference that Pratt had agreed to pay for the cost of fixing the 156 engines already delivered once officials agreed to a proposed design change.

Bogdan said the retrofits should be relatively easy and inexpensive to carry out since the engine is built in modules, which will allow mechanics to swap out the entire fan section.

He said Pratt had also agreed to share the cost of any future design changes with the government. Talks about the next two batches of engines should finish soon, he said.

Bogdan lauded Pratt for dedicating its "A team" to solve the engine issue, and said the company also "did everything right" in an issue with faulty titanium supplied by A&P Alloys Inc. He said Pratt would pay to replace a limited amount of titanium affected by the incident.

Pratt and the F-35 program office last week said the metal did not pose a risk to flight safety. Bogdan said there was no link between the engine failure and the titanium supply issue.

Bogdan said the engine incident was a "low to moderate" challenge, but it had put the overall F-35 development program about 30 to 45 days behind schedule.

He said the engine failure was due to the excessive rubbing of one fan blade on an adjacent seal during a certain maneuver that created higher than expected temperatures in the engine.

Bogdan said six of 21 F-35 test planes had been cleared to fly a full flight envelope, and he hoped to get approval for the rest by the end of the month to keep the test program on track.

He said officials next week planned to flight test a complex manuever that could "burn in" the affected seal on newer engines and avoid the excessive rubbing that caused the engine to fail.

Pratt is also due to finish a prototype fan section replacement by the end of the month with pre-set trenches, which could be tested by mid-October. It is working on a design fix for the 3,000-plus F135 engines to be bought in coming decades.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Franklin Paul, Andrea Ricci and Andrew Hay)

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Comments (6)
bluto1960 wrote:
“an issue with faulty titanium supplied by A&P Alloys Inc.” – Reuters -

This very same company . [QUOTE],

” At the earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the Government’s evidence would have proven that BISHOP was the primary owner of A&P Alloys, Inc. in West Bridgewater, a wholesale producer of stainless steel and other metals. In the early 1990′s, BISHOP opened five bank accounts in the name of A&P Alloys, Inc. at different banks and deposited into those accounts customer checks which were payable to the business. During the years 1995 to 1998, BISHOP deposited over $970,000 in checks into those accounts. However, BISHOP failed to disclose those accounts or deposits to the company’s accountant or tax preparer. BISHOP withdrew over $1 million from the accounts for her and her husband’s personal use. BISHOP filed a false and fraudulent federal tax return for the year 1996 which understated her income by over $400,000 and thereby evaded paying $189,148 in taxes for that year. According to the prosecutor, through this scheme BISHOP also avoided paying $195,993 in 1995 and $12,126 in 1997.
Also at that earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that BISHOP’s son, PALIE, took over day-to-day control of A&P Alloys in 1997. PALIE opened a bank account in October, 1997 in the company’s name and deposited over $200,000 in customer checks payable to the business into the account. PALIE then transferred the funds to his personal bank account and used the proceeds for his own personal use, including as a portion of the down payment on his residence. PALIE also failed to disclose the bank account or the diversion of the checks to the company’s accountant and tax preparer. PALIE filed a false and fraudulent federal income tax return for the year 1997 which understated his income by over $200,000 and thereby evaded paying $75,524 in taxes for that year.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard in Sullivan’s Economic Crimes Unit.” [/QUOTE]

Sep 06, 2014 8:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bernie777 wrote:
US roads and bridges are falling apart, and we are spending 1.4 Trillion dollars (enough money to fix all roads and bridges in US) on a plane, the F-35, they cannot make work and will be obsolete in five years.

Sep 07, 2014 3:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jingan wrote:
f35 …geared vertical flight monstrosity, engineering night mare

Sep 07, 2014 10:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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