The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a contract modification to Pratt & Whitney for a sixth batch of F135 turbofan engines to power Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft. The $508m modification brings the total value of the fully funded sixth low-rate initial production ( LRIP-6) contract to $1.1bn. According to the LRIP-6 contract, the company will supply a total of 38 engines, including 36 install engines and two spares, along with programme management, engineering support, production non-recurring effort and sustainment and spare parts. Around 18 engines will power the US Air Force’s (USAF) F-35 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL), while the US Navy and Marine Corps will receive seven carrier variant (CV) engines and six short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) engines. The contract also covers three and two CTOL powerplants for Italy and Australia, respectively. The unit prices for both CTOL and CV, and six STOVL aircraft engines have been reduced by roughly 2.5% and 9.6%, in LRIP 6 compared to the LRIP 5 contract, according to the company.
F-35 program executive officer lieutenant general Chris Bogdan said, "The engine price has been going down and that trend will continue." Pratt & Whitney F135/F119 Engine Programs vice-president Chris Flynn said the increase in F135 volume and production rate will prove critical to realising further cost savings for the engine. ”Our efforts will be critical to ensuring the overall success of the F-35 program and getting the services ready for initial operational capability," Flynn said. A derivative of the combat-proven F119-PW-100 engine, the F135 is an afterburning two-shaft engine, featuring advanced prognostics and health management systems, and is designed to significantly reduce maintenance costs. Deliveries under the LRIP 6 contract are scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Image: Pratt & Whitney will supply 38 F-135 engines for F-35 JSF aircraft under the LRIP-6 contract. Photo: courtesy of USAF Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago.