EAST HARTFORD, Conn., March 6 -- Pratt & Whitney has awarded a contract to Nederlands Centrum voor Laser Research (NCLR) to demonstrate an advanced excimer laser drilling system on the F135 propulsion system for the F-35 joint strike fighter (JSF). NCLR has designed an excimer laser capable of producing multiple small holes very rapidly.
"While typical excimer lasers are rated between 30 and 100 watts, the NCLR laser is 1,000 watts," said Ed O'Donnell, director of JSF international programs at Pratt & Whitney. The laser can maintain hole quality while drilling multiple holes simultaneously, resulting in a significant reduction in the average time and cost per hole. Pratt & Whitney said it anticipates the NCLR system will be used on the F135 as well as other engines.