Rolls-Royce is engaged in two distinct activities on the JSF programme during the Development Phase:
- Teamed with Pratt & Whitney on the design and development of the STOVL LiftSystem™, and
- Teamed with General Electric (GE) on the design and development of the F136 engine, a new engine designed to be fully interchangeable with the incumbent F135.

Rolls-Royce is teamed with Pratt & Whitney to develop the F135 STOVL Propulsion System for Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and ensure interchangeability with the joint GE/Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team’s F136 engine. The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem provides operators with STOVL capability, regardless of engine choice.

The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem comprises 3 principal components: Rolls-Royce LiftFan™, the three bearing swivel module (3BSM) and both Roll Posts.

The LiftFan, a 50-inch radial two-stage counter rotating fan capable of generating more than 20,000lbs of thrust, is driven from a conventional gas turbine and supplies the forward vertical lift. The 3BSM is a swivelling jet pipe capable of redirecting the rear thrust from the horizontal to the vertical position. It can rotate through 95 degrees in 2.5 seconds and passes 18,000lbs of thrust. Aircraft roll control is achieved using the Roll Posts mounted in the wings of the aircraft, each of which provides further 1,950lbs thrust.

Rolls-Royce is managing the overall development and integration programme from its site in Bristol, UK, which is also responsible for the Rolls-Royce LiftFan™ turbomachinery, 3BSM and Roll Post designs. The team in Indianapolis, US, will provide the system’s gearbox, clutch, driveshaft and nozzle and will conduct the build and verification testing of the LiftFan.

The USG has funded the development of the rival F136 engine, which will provide customers with a choice of engine in time for low rate initial production. GE Aircraft Engines, with responsibility for 60 percent of the programme, is developing the compressor, coupled turbine, controls and accessories, structures and the augmentor. Rolls-Royce, with 40 percent of the programme, is responsible for the fan, combustor, low-pressure turbines and gearboxes.