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Pratt & Whitney’s F135 Engine Performs First Engine Start and Ground Run in the First F-35 Assembled

MarketWatch // June 15, 2015

Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine powering the F-35 Lightning II, successfully completed its first engine start and ground run in the first F-35 assembled outside of the United States. The event occurred June 2 at the Italian F-35 Final Assembly Check-Out (FACO) facility in Cameri, Italy supported by the joint team of Pratt and Whitney, Lockheed Martin, Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, and the Italian Ministry of Defense (MOD). Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. company.

The Cameri FACO is owned by the Italian government and operated by Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi in association with Lockheed Martin. The Cameri FACO's F-35 production operations began in July 2013 and it rolled out Italy's first F-35A aircraft, AL-1, in March of 2015; the aircraft's first flight is anticipated there later this year. Installed in December, S/N 750100 was Pratt & Whitney's 100th production conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) engine.

"Supporting the first F135 engine start in AL-1 in Italy was an amazing opportunity and privilege, especially on the Italian Independence Day," said Toby Varghese, F135 Propulsion System Field Service Site Lead. "I am looking forward to Pratt & Whitney's continued support through AL-1 first flight in 2015."

Italy, the third largest partner to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, has plans to buy 60 F-35A and 30 F-35B jets. The F-35s will replace Italian Air Force and Italian Navy AV-8 Harriers, Panavia Tornados and AMX fighters. The FACO is charged with assembly of both Italy's F-35A variant and its F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and is scheduled to assemble the Netherlands' F-35A aircraft in the future.