• By: Tatum Bergen

Gastops: Ottawa-based innovation in the F-35 program

ABOVE: Ottawa-based Gastops provides critical engine sensors for the world’s most advanced fighter jets. (Photo: Karsten Moran)

Gastops’ contributions to F-35 fighter jet’s engines are fueling Canada’s participation in the fighter jet program. F-35 pilots across the world should feel safer knowing that Gastops’ cutting-edge sensing technology is monitoring the health of their engines.

Gastops is an Ottawa-based critical equipment intelligence technology company with a history supporting aerospace platforms. Their work on the F-35 Program puts Ottawa on the world map as an innovative hub in aviation. Up against global competitors, Gastops was selected to provide critical sensors for Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine, which powers all three variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35. Since, Gastops has evolved with the aircraft, recently celebrating their 3,500th engine sensor delivery for the F-35 program. The valued experience and skillset Gastops developed from their work with the program equipped them to win global aviation contracts with the US Air Force, the Australian Defence Force, and various commercial airlines.

The F-35 is the most advanced fighter jet globally and uses cutting-edge technologies, many of which Canadian companies design and manufacture. In fact, Canada’s inclusion in the F-35 program is dependent on Canadian companies–like Gastops–contributing to the aircraft’s development.

“As Canada… now continues to consider the F-35 for the country’s future fighter, our participation is a source of pride for our employees and helps us to attract diverse talent from across the country to support our growth,” said Shaun Horning, President & CEO of Gastops. “The global success of the program has provided Gastops the opportunity to share our critical equipment condition intelligence leadership with militaries around the worlds.”

Gastops provides multiple engine sensors for each F-35 A, B, and C variant. Each sensor monitors the health and reliability of critical components within the engine through advanced analytics–a critical piece of technology to detect wear and tear early on. Not only do the sensors save money on maintenance, but they make F-35 operations safer and more effective.

By diagnosing issues early on, engines can be maintained before something goes wrong and repair costs escalate. Proactive maintenance ensures that equipment is available and ready to go when it is needed. With over 35,000 installations, 40 years of research, and 700 million operating hours, Gastops continues to earn the trust of the world’s largest engine manufacturers to monitor, protect and maintain their equipment.

Horning explains, “The F-35 program is providing us with a unique opportunity to develop our technologies, employees, and their skills, and for Gastops to grow and mature as an aerospace supplier… We envision a future where real-time prognostics are powered by human ingenuity and machine intelligence that deliver optimal equipment performance and fleet management. Contributing to the F-35 program provides a window into the potential for what we can achieve.”

The company has shown remarkable resilience through the pandemic. When commercial aviation contracts dropped up to 70%, the F-35 program’s consistency helped Gastops weather the storm, remaining a strong business during the economic downturn and employing 160 people across Ottawa. They continue to invest in their employees’ development and training and create new opportunities for graduates from local universities.

Rooted in Ottawa, Gastops supports Carleton University’s Women in Engineering and Information Technology program, one of the first industry and government-sponsored programs of its kind in Canada. The F-35 program’s stability enables Gastops to deliver promising job opportunities for young Carleton graduates and future generations.

Their commitment to the young workforce is just one example of how Gastops lives out its values and vision. They are committed to achieving excellence through collaboration with their partners, maintaining integrity through respect and inclusion, and pushing the boundaries of innovation. They value their community, which is a foundation to how they will accomplish their mission: “to increase productivity and safety of mission critical equipment for global operators, maintainers, and OEMs… and a commitment to serving our customers.”

Each time an F-35 launches around the world equipped with Gastops’ sensors, the benefits blow through Ottawa’s economy. Gastops enables Canada to stay a relevant partner in the program while putting Ottawa on the aviation map.

The advances being realized on the F-35 are a continuing source of inspiration, helping to drive Gastops to re-define the future of critical equipment intelligence technology.