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'Dings and Nicks' Shut F136 Down

UPDATED: JSF Program Office Details Damage to Engine The engine war plot thickened Wednesday as GE/Rolls Royce, builders of the F136 alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter, stopped testing the engine this week after a routine inspection revealed "dings and nicks" on the turbine blades.

"This weekend, GE/RR were about 75 percent through a test engine phase in the test cell in Cincinnati that included extended operation at maximum power, normal operation and controlled shutdown," GE spokesman Rick Kennedy and his counterpart at Rolls Royce, George McLaren, said in an email.

The companies performed a boroscope inspection and "found dings and nicks on the turbine blades. At the time of the shutdown, the engine was running normally with no signs of issues," they said.

The companies decided a "thorough" engine inspection was warranted. Kennedy and McLaren added that there "was no sign of damage in the compressor or fan."

Here's what the JSF program office said:

"During the planned routine borescope inspection after completion of testing on Oct 4, Fighter Engine Team found several High Pressure Turbine Rotor (HPT) blades with impact damage on Ground Test Engine 005 (second SDD ground test motor). Further inspections revealed Stages 1, 2, & 3 of the Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) rotor also sustained impact damage on the leading edges of several blades. During borescope of the Combustor/Diffuser/Nozzle (CDN) assembly, 2 combustor diffuser inner panels were found with distress and missing material.

Wait a few days and more will be known.

"The GE/RR issue wasn't an engine failure, but we've got to make sure we know exactly what happened," they said.

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