How the world's most powerful and advanced fighter jet engine is made

Sam Eckholm takes viewers behind the scenes in Middletown, Conn.

Aerospace and defense content creator Sam Eckholm recently visited Pratt & Whitney’s engine production facility in Middletown, Conn. to learn about the ingenuity and high-tech manufacturing that makes the F135 engine the most advanced fighter jet engine in the world. During his visit, Eckholm toured the production line with Brent Veiga, Pratt & Whitney F135 Chief Engineer, and felt the force of the engine’s 40,000 pounds of thrust from the control room during an engine test. He also saw how engines are assembled and packaged before they’re shipped to customers.

Eckholm publishes videos about aerospace and defense technology to his more than 400,000 YouTube subscribers. He previously visited Raytheon's radar development facility in Andover, Massachusetts, where the company builds the U.S. Navy's AN/SPY-6 radar.

During his trip to the F135 engine facility, Eckholm also met with Jen Latka, vice president, F135 Engine Program. They spoke about the F135 Engine Core Upgrade, an update to the power module that Pratt & Whitney developed to give F-35 customers an affordable, low-cost and agile way to deliver the capability needed for the jet’s Block 4 modernization effort.

“Right now, the most important thing for the warfighter is to get more Block 4 weapons onto the jet,” says Latka. “To enable those weapon systems, we need a core upgrade. We need to provide more electrical power and cooling, and what’s important is that we do that as fast as we can to get those weapon systems to the pilot. And that’s what this core upgrade gives them.”

The F135 engine is among many systems RTX businesses provide for the F-35.