The F100-PW-229: Most trusted. Most experienced. Most reliable. And the best choice for the F-15EX

February 24, 2021 - For all the talk about technology and incumbency, one fact stands above the rest for Pratt & Whitney engineers who work on the F100-PW-229.

“The F100-PW-229 is the most capable, most reliable 4th generation fighter engine ever developed,” said Thomas Prete, vice president, Military Engineering, Pratt & Whitney.

Together, Pratt & Whitney and the USAF technical team was responsible for the design and development of the F100-PW-229, focusing on the design imperatives of safety, reliability, sustainment and lethality.

“During the design these were non-negotiables and we were religious in bringing these home for the warfighter,” he recalled

Years later, with more than 1.3 million hours of operation in the F-15, the team has a formula for success.

Pratt & Whitney’s F100 engines power hundreds of F-15s around the world and have exclusively powered the U.S. Air Force’s entire operational fleet of F-15s since 1972.

The F100-PW-229 is fully capable of integrating with the F-15EX, the newest variant of the USAF fighter that will replace the F-15C/D with advanced capabilities.

Pratt & Whitney is stating its case for why the F100 engine is the best choice for the F-15EX.

“The F100-PW-229 engine is the culmination of nearly 50 years of product improvements based on field experience and trickle-down technologies from Pratt & Whitney’s latest advanced fighter engines,” said Kevin Rich, associate director, Weapons System Integration, Pratt & Whitney, who worked as the F100 program manager.

The F100-PW-229 engine powers the F-15E Strike Eagle, which is a later variant of the original F-15A air superiority fighter, and uses that technology to enable a multi-role, air-to-ground fighter. To support this mission, the F-15E has systems and ordnance-carrying capability that result in a much heavier platform.

“The F100-PW-229 has proven that it can provide the legendary F-15 performance the warfighter expects with Pratt & Whitney’s engines. F-15E crews “trust the thrust” and will do so with the Pratt & Whitney powered F-15EX,” said Rich.

That something extra: performance and lethality

“The pilots themselves tell you that the F100-229 has that something extra. Fighter pilots have told us that F100-229 delivers more military power thrust and rapid throttle transient response in the heart of the combat flight envelope – where a fighter pilots needs it most,” said Prete.

The F100-PW-229 engine has more military thrust under most combat conditions. Rapid throttle response is a significant advantage. The F100-PW-229 performs better with all loads under combat conditions than any other fighter engine in its class. That capability is particularly critical during air-to-ground (low and high altitude) and air-to-air maneuvers.

Sustainment infrastructure

Proven lower sustainment costs, sustainment performance and commonality are also differentiators for the F100-PW-229.

“The F100 sustainment infrastructure at Air Force bases has matured over nearly a half-century,” said Rich. There is a robust network of USAF and P&W sustainment capability already in place to support the P&W powered F-15EX. Most of the engine technical data, intermediate and depot level engine maintenance requirements, tooling, ground support equipment, and USAF maintainer experience is directly transferrable to the F-15EX, negating the need to stand up an entirely new logistics support system. “Pratt & Whitney continuously works with our USAF customer to understand F100 use and spare parts requirements and has fleet readiness processes in place to ensure spare parts are available, when and where they are needed. At the same time recent design improvements continue to extend the maintenance interval beyond any other fighter engine.”

In fact, the F100-PW-229 was the first fighter engine to increase the engine depot maintenance interval to 6,000 total accumulated cycles, which afforded a significant improvement in reliability, lowered sustainment costs, and increased readiness for our customers performing critical missions.

The proven provider of 5th generation capability

Pratt & Whitney is also the only engine manufacturer positioned to upgrade 4th generation engines with proven 5th generation technologies.

“We are the only provider of 5th generation propulsion in the world,” said Chief Engineer Mark Von Nieda. “Pratt & Whitney has the proven technology to upgrade the F100 with 5th generation technologies – survivability, low observable tech, higher specific thrust, superior Low Observable augmentation performance, and increased range. That reduces weapons system vulnerability.”

Prete pointed out that is crucial when the stakes are so high.

“Pratt & Whitney is positioned as the low risk, proven provider of 5th gen capability,” he said. “When the warfighter needs a step change in propulsion capability we feel Pratt & Whitney is well positioned to deliver.”

A legacy of cooperation and trust

The experience of the field service representatives (FSR) – established and in place at each USAF installation – is also a key component.

“The FSRs are the crown jewels of the front line. We have a long and successful relationship with our USAF customer, and the FSRs are right there with them,” Rich said. “We don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, call one another and have frank discussions.”

It comes down to a legacy of cooperation and trust.

“What makes the Pratt & Whitney and USAF partnership so strong is absolute focus on fleet safety as paramount, the transparency we share when having challenging conversations and the recognition that we are at our best when working together -- not only to solve issues but to be proactive in the interest of the warfighters,” said Meggan Harris, executive chief engineer of Operational Military Engines. “We are postured together to carry this legacy of safety into the F-15EX while bringing additional capability to the table.”

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