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F135 STOVL Engine Cleared for Flight: Pratt & Whitney announced last week that the Defense Department has approved the F135 engine configuration that is designed for the F-35B, the short takeoff and vertical landing version of the F-35 strike fighter, for initial service release. This means that the engine is now certified in its production configuration and is cleared for flight. "Achieving initial service release for the STOVL propulsion system means all three variants of the F135 engine have met all necessary requirements and proven the safety, reliability, and performance of this product," said Bennett Croswell, who heads Pratt's F135 and F119 engine programs. Last February, Pratt reached the ISR milestone for the F-135 variant built for Air Force F-35A and Navy F-35C aircraft. Pratt said the F135 STOVL engine "is demonstrating excellent reliability, performance, and thrust response."