On 12 June, Pratt & Whitney announced a Growth Option 2.0 upgrade for the F135 engine, which powers the F-35 LIGHTNING II.
The upgrade can be configured, based on customer requirements, to offer a range of power and thermal management system ( PTMS) improvements, an area which is emerging as a critical enabling capability for future block upgrades to the F-35 aircraft. The near-term iteration of this upgrade can provide a significant improvement in PTMS capacity.
Growth Option 2.0 incorporates the same suite of compressor and turbine technologies offered in the previously announced Growth Option 1.0, and also brings scaled advances in PTMS capacity while maintaining the same improvements in fuel burn (5-6%) and thrust (6-10%) across the flight envelope. By selecting from Pratt & Whitney's full suite of technologies, F-35 customers can choose the magnitude of PTMS improvements as the mission requires.
Increases in PTMS capacity can enable the F-35 to use an enhanced spectrum of offensive and defensive weapon system technologies. Growth Option 2.0 can provide a significant improvement in PTMS capacity in the near-term by using several low-risk technologies ready for Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) today. Pratt & Whitney is also maturing additional technologies that are projected to provide even greater PTMS capability.
Growth Option 2.0 represents the next iteration of Pratt & Whitney's Future Adaptive Spiral Technology approach, which enables the timely insertion of next-generation propulsion technologies into current and future platforms. The foundation of this approach is a suite of adaptive engine technologies that Pratt & Whitney is developing to meet the demands of range, persistence, survivability, maintainability and advanced weapon systems for the missions of tomorrow. These advanced technologies can be inserted spirally as they become available and provide a full range of options for customers, enabling them to maintain the operational edge now and into the future.
“As the F-35 programme moves forward with the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) strategy, we strive to stay in front of propulsion advances needed to enable F-35 modernisation. […] We're continuously assessing customer needs and responding with technology insertion options to keep them ahead of evolving threats," Pratt & Whitney Military Engines’ President, Matthew Bromberg. “Our spiral approach allows [us] to offer rapid, iterative upgrades such as Growth Option 1.0 and Growth Option 2.0 that put next-generation propulsion technologies into the hands of the warfighter as fast as possible. […] These upgrades are aligned with the F-35 C2D2 strategy and provide a range of options to meet future weapons system requirements for the F135 engine."