Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) has commenced activation to serve as the second depot source of repair (DSOR) of the US Department of Defense (DoD) for the F135 engine.

This engine serves as the propulsion system to power the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

In 2012, the first DSOR was designated, with activation completed two years later at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

FRCSE is the largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia.

It serves as an integral part of the US Navy, Naval Air Systems Command, and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.

FRCSE commanding officer captain Grady Duffey said: “It’s great to be a part of the FRCSE Team as we prepare to activate the F135 engine product line. The new scope of work won’t just expand our support of the Joint Strike Fighter, but will help meet the sustainment demands of our military.”

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For FRCSE to activate as second DSOR, it needs to undergo some requirements. Prior to the FRCSE receiving its first Power Module (PM), which is one of the five major modules that form the F135 power plant, its ‘artisans’ are required to undergo a three-phase Pratt & Whitney (P&W) training and maintenance qualification and certification process, which is slated to commence in January next year.

Following the receipt of certification, F135 engine line artisans will work only on the PM and its four associated mini modules (MMs) in designated cells.

The present plan features nine PM cells and 22 mini-module cells.

Although FRCSE’s Crinkley Engine Facility complex carries out work on four engines – F404, F414, TF34 and J85 – its expansion is required to support the anticipated F135 workload.

For this purpose, FRCSE will renovate its current engine test cell and construct a new engine facility.

Expected to break ground in 2026, work on the new engine facility is slated to complete in 2028.

The new facility will boost the plant’s capacity for F135 work. 

The engine test cell modification project will see several changes being made to the existing structure to accommodate the F135 engine’s 50,000 pounds of thrust and over 18-foot size. Completion of the modification project is anticipated in 2027.

Duffey added: “We are unequivocally committed to this programme’s success and to activating the U.S. Navy’s first F135 engine product line.”