Pratt & Whitney and Aerospace Industrial Maintenance (AIM) Norway have signed a contract for establishment of a maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) capability for the F135 turbofan engines.
Signed at the ongoing Farnborough International Air Show in the UK, the contract covers planning and management activities required for F135 depot activation in 2018.
A series of contracts to be signed in future are expected to support the establishment of F135 depot capabilities, including assembly, disassembly, cleaning, inspection and testing at the AIM Norway facility in Gardermoen, Norway.
A derivative of the combat-proven F119-PW-100 engine, the F135 afterburning two-shaft engine powers the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.
Pratt & Whitney Military Engines president Bennett Croswell said: "As we prepare for an increase in F135 engine production, we are actively seeking partners like AIM Norway who demonstrate the high levels of technical capabilities that are required to support the F135.
"Pratt & Whitney is committed to establishing international F135 engine support. AIM Norway's participation in MRO&U of aircraft and aircraft systems will be a valuable part of this effort."
AIM Norway CEO Ove Haukassveen said: "This agreement represents an important milestone for AIM Norway as we work to establish a capable and affordable sustainment solution which we intend to offer the Norwegian and the wider international F-35 fleet."
Having joined the F-35 programme as a partner in the system development and demonstration phase in 2002, the Norwegian government selected the aircraft as a replacement for the F-16 fleet in November 2008.
The Norwegian defence ministry has to date secured approval to place an order for the first 16 of the 52 jets planned.
Delivery of the first fifth-generation F-35 aircraft to the Royal Norwegian Air Force is scheduled to take place in 2015.
Image: Pratt & Whitney and AIM Norway officials signed the F135 depot activation contract at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK. Photo: ©2014 United Technologies Corporation - Pratt & Whitney Division.