Jet engines are complex powerplants that convert fuel into a powerful force called thrust. Military jet engines in particular comprise a subcategory of engines that are specially-designed for military use. To become familiar with such types, this blog will cover notable military jet engines in operation today and the long list of jet engines that paved the way for newer variations.
To kickoff our list of popular military jet engines, we will cover the Pratt & Whitney 135 turbofan engine. Serving as Pratt & Whitney’s best-selling military jet engine, the 135 currently powers the US Military F35 Lightning II. There are three variations of this engine type that find use in the F35, those of which include the F135-PW-100, the F135-PW-600, and the F135-PW-400. Regardless of the variant, F135 series military jet engines are capable of handling up to 43,000 pounds of thrust.
The Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine produces around 1,500 shaft horsepower and nearly 4,000 pounds per feet of torque. This engine offers a myriad of advantages over its conventional diesel counterparts that are often employed in modern military tanks. Due to the scarcity of diesel in certain regions, the Honeywell engine’s ability to reliably run on a wide range of fuels, including diesel, kerosene, gasoline, and jet fuels like JP-8 and JP-4, is incredibly beneficial. More than that, it is highly reliable, offers high speed capabilities, and contains noise reduction characteristics. However, some major problems with this engine include its excessive fuel consumption, its need for frequent maintenance, and the toxic exhaust it expels.
GE F110 & F118
Next on the list is General Electric’s GE F110 and its variant the F118. Serving as General Electric’s first afterburning turbofan engine, the F110 provides more than 23,000 pounds of thrust at sea level using the afterburner. Due to this, these engines are often utilized for the Grumman Tomcat, a multirole carrier-based fighter, which was featured in Top Gun and JAG. Today, the F110 powers General Dynamics’ F16 Fighting Falcon fleet, with the latest models delivering up to 32,000 pounds of thrust. The F118 is the non-afterburning variant of the F110 and was developed for use in the Northrop B2 Spirit which is a flying wing stealth bomber. Furthermore, even Lockheed’s U2s take advantage of the F118. It becomes clear that General Electric’s F110 and F118 are taking over a wide range of aircraft in military service.
Pegasus Engine by Rolls-Royce
During the 1950s, aerospace and mechanical engineers began devising a way of creating aircraft that could use the thrust generated by a jet engine to take off, hover, and land vertically as opposed to utilizing traditional runways for takeoff and landing. By 1960, the Bristol Engine Company had developed a prototype that would meet those requirements, and the Pegasus engine was born. This prototype could fly in tether and hover freely, proving that the concept of vertical take off and landing could be achieved in the absence of runways. One of the most interesting facts about the Pegasus engine is that it almost made its way onto the Space Shuttle.
Power Jets W.1
The work of Sir Frank Whittle and his R&D team at Power Jets during the 1940s can be credited with the great success of modern aviation. While Hans von Ohain was the first to get a jet to fly, Sir Frank’s achievements cannot be overlooked. The Power Jets W.1 was modeled after a design called the Power Jets W U (Whittle Unit), which was the first turbojet to run. The W.1 was utilized in the Gloster E28/39 and would become the first US-built jet engine, known as the General Electric I-A. The W.1 was a turbojet that took advantage of a radial compressor stage, reverse flow combustors, and a single axial flow turbine stage. Though it only generated around 850 pounds of thrust at 16,500 RPM, Sir Frank’s creation proved the immense capacity of the jet engine to serve as a propulsion system for aircraft.
While there are many engines that could have made this list, the aforementioned jet engines deserve recognition for the great strides they have made in the aerospace and aviation realm. Like other engines, jet engines are not everlasting machines, such that they may require maintenance or replacement parts after a certain number of service cycles. Automatize Electronics is an online distributor of aircraft parts with over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find options on its database. Backed by rapid turnaround times and unbeatable cost savings, Automatize Electronics is equipped to meet rigid time constraints or AOG situations. Kickoff the procurement process by requesting a competitive quote on any desired item and see how Automatize Electronics can serve as your strategic sourcing partner!
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