StandardAero announced that it has successfully achieved all Initial Depot Capability (IDC) requirements for the repair and overhaul of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, which powers all three variants of the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. With this achievement, StandardAero’s F135 Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) facility, or depot, in the Netherlands becomes the first fully operational F135 engine depot outside of the United States. This facility features the first purpose-built international test cell for the F135 engine that was designed and constructed from the ground up to support F135 aftermarket test operations. The IDC milestone was reached following the qualification of StandardAero’s assembly and disassembly capability for the F135’s fan and power modules as well as engine test operations at its state-of-the-art 30,000 square foot facility in the Netherlands, located at the Logistics Center Woensdrecht (LCW) of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
“Congratulations to the joint industry and government team on achieving IDC for the Netherlands F135 depot,” said O Sung Kwon, Vice President, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines Sustainment Operations. “This critical sustainment milestone is the culmination of years of planning, construction, deployments, training and qualification. I’m exceptionally proud of how this team navigated the various challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to standup this F135 MRO&U capability on-time for the customer.”
“Since our acquisition of DutchAero Services in March of 2015, we have been purposefully driving toward standing up our capabilities at LCW and operationalizing our F135 engine MRO services,” said Marc Drobny, President of Military & Energy for StandardAero. “We are proud to achieve the IDC milestone status and grateful for the collaborative efforts of all of our partners.”
The U.S. Department of Defense selected the Netherlands as one of the F135 MRO&U European regional depots in late 2014. Since that time, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, the F-35 Joint Program Office, StandardAero, and Pratt & Whitney have worked collaboratively over the past six years to standup this regional MRO&U capability which will support the Royal Netherlands Air Force as well as other F-35 operators in the region under the F-35’s Global Support System. With the declaration of IDC, the Netherlands depot will immediately begin supporting fan and power module repairs for the F135 engine fleet, providing increased capacity to the global F135 MRO&U network. Modules will be disassembled, repaired, and reassembled by StandardAero personnel with technical assistance from Pratt & Whitney, followed by testing and return-to-service of the module for use by global operators of the F135 engine.
This F135 MRO&U capability brings significant benefits to the Dutch workforce and industry, from high quality jobs to the technical expertise and know-how gained from the maintenance and repair of the most advanced fighter engine in the world. The 5th Generation F135 is the most advanced and most powerful fighter engine in the world, featuring a host of performance attributes that deliver a step change in capability over 4th Generation engines. This includes 40,000+ pounds of thrust; a 50 percent increase in thermal management capacity enabling the full spectrum of F-35 weapons and sensor capabilities; a precise and responsive integrated engine control system allowing the pilot to focus squarely on the mission; and an unmatched low observable signature enabling the F-35 to conduct operations in modern Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) environments.
StandardAero is one of the world’s largest independent providers of services including engine and airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul, engine component repair, engineering services, interior completions and paint applications. StandardAero serves a diverse array of customers in business and general aviation, airline, military, helicopter, components and energy markets. StandardAero is owned by global investment firm Carlyle.
Pratt & Whitney is an American aerospace manufacturer with global service operations. It is a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies. Pratt & Whitney’s aircraft engines are widely used in both civil aviation (especially airlines) and military aviation. Its headquarters are in East Hartford, Connecticut. As one of the “big three” aero-engine manufacturers, it competes with General Electric and Rolls-Royce, although it has also formed joint ventures with both of these companies. In addition to aircraft engines, Pratt & Whitney manufactures gas turbines for industrial and power generation, and marine turbines.