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GE Finds F136 Failure Cause


The failure of the F136 engine in late September resulted from a "seal clearance" in the fan that was set too tight, causing friction.

"The issue with engine 008 was unique to that engine," GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said in an email. "No modification [will be] required to other engines." Engines 05 and 07 continue to run well in tests.

The program could ill afford any bad news at this time. The Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen Norton Schwartz, appeared to open the door to a compromise with GE and Rolls Royce over the F136 when he said they should invest more of their money in it. And the administration has held tight to its threat to veto any defense bill containing

When the failure was first made public it looked as if it could portend tough times ahead for the second Joint Strike Fighter engine. Here's what GE said then: “Approximately three hours into a mechanical check-out on September 23 at the GE Aviation facility in Evendale, Ohio, an F136 development engine experienced an anomaly at near maximum fan speed. Engine #008 was shut down in a controlled manner. Initial inspection revealed damage to airfoils in the front fan and compressor area."

But GE says no design flaw or systemic equipment problem was revealed. "All of the other engines have continued to run like crazy - and are kicking a***," Kennedy wrote

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