Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business, has been awarded a $5.2bn contract to produce the 15th and 16th batches of F135 engines to power the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

Under the agreement, the F-135 engines will power all three variants of the Lockheed Martin-built F-35. The company will supply 278 units of F135 engines, with an option to order up to 518 engines for the US Armed Forces and international customers. 

This contract bodes well for Pratt & Whitney, as Airforce Technology reported yesterday that the F-35 is cementing its place as the standard NATO fighter. It is said that by 2030, there will be more than 400 F-35 stealth fighters across Nato member bases. 

This engine contract for Pratt & Whitney can support this growth for Lockheed Martin and maintain geopolitical stability by deterring threats in regions.

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Canada and Germany are just a couple of examples of nations that will benefit from this engine contract being awarded to Pratt & Whitney. Canada finalised an agreement with the US to procure 88 F-35A’s for the RCAF this year, and Germany approved an $8.83bn contract to buy 35 F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin late last year.

Pratt & Whitney noted that the award could be awarded a 17th lot. Pratt & Whitney’s vice president for the F135 program, Jen Latka, said: “This marks a major milestone for the program. This contract award enables us to continue delivering critical 5th Generation propulsion capability to the warfighter at a fair and reasonable cost for the taxpayer.” 

The company will also provide program management, engineering, production, and tooling support. 

Since the program’s inception, Pratt & Whitney’s “war on cost” efforts have reduced the average unit cost of an F135 by more than 50 per cent, contributing to an estimated $8.1bn in cumulative engine savings over the life of the program. 

Airforce Technology announced that Pratt & Whitney engines would power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Craft in 2009 in a $571m contract. The F135 is based on the F119 engine, which powers the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor stealth tactical fighter aircraft. 

The F-35 is a fifth-generation lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft equipped with stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range.

As of December 2022, Pratt & Whitney has supplied over 1,000 F135 production engines.