The US Department of Defense (DoD) has finalised a $1bn contract with Pratt & Whitney to supply a fifth batch of F135 turbofan engines to power Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft.
In February, the company and Pentagon reached an initial agreement on the contract, which covers the production and delivery of a total of 35 engines, including 32 for installation in F-35 fighters, and three spares.
Pratt & Whitney F135 and F119 engine programmes head Chris Flynn was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement that the company has collaborated with the DoD to drive down engine costs and accelerate the contracting cycle for future production agreements over the past several months.
"As we move forward in the program, the key factors in driving down cost will be to increase the ramp rate and volume of engines," Flynn added.
"Achieving greater program stability will help us to progress further down the cost curve to meet the price reduction objectives on the program."
Engines delivered under the contract will power 22 US Air Force’s F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft, seven US Navy F-35 carrier variant aircraft, and three US Marine Corps’ short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, as reported earlier by the F-35 Joint Program Office.
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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.
Around 98 production engines have been delivered to date by the company for the F-35 programme.
Currently under development, F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to conduct ground attack, reconnaissance and air defence missions with stealth capability.
Image: An F135 engine undergoing altitude testing at Arnold Engineering Development Center in the US. Photo: Courtesy of ADEC.