Our Pegasus engine is a world-leader in STOVL, but for us, that’s not just an achievement: it’s a challenge. When it came to developing a solution for the STOVL variant of the F-35 Lightning II, increasing power while reducing weight, improving stability and simplifying controls, and being able to achieve STOVL and supersonic flight – something not possible with the Harrier platform – were critical.
The only STOVL technology for fighter jets in production anywhere in the world, LiftSystem comprises of four key elements: the LiftFan, driveshaft and clutch, a 3-bearing swivel module and roll posts. With a combined STOVL capability of 40,000 lb of thrust, 29,000 horsepower is delivered to the LiftFan via the driveshaft and clutch. That’s enough to raise ten elephants to the top of the Empire State Building in just 7 seconds. And thanks to the use of the latest in fan system technology, this is achieved with minimal impact on total airframe weight.
But LiftSystem doesn’t just punch above its weight in terms of power. It also features the latest in digital control, with the processing power equivalent to playing a PlayStation straight for 14 years. The digital flight controls reduce pilots’ workloads, with the STOVL operated by a single button, allowing them to focus on the mission in hand.