On June 2, 2023, Pratt & Whitney conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for their new 845,000 square foot facility in Oklahoma, representing $255m of investment from the company, on a facility to support military engines that are maintained at Tinker Air Force Base and other locations, including depot support of the F-35, C-17, F-22, F-15, F-16, B-52, and E-3 AWACS.
Pratt & Whitney has announced the development of an Engine Core Upgrade (ECU) for the F135, designed to offer a cost-effective, low-risk, and flexible solution for all F-35 customers seeking to achieve Block 4 capabilities. According to Congressman Tom Cole, OK-04. “Pratt & Whitney’s Oklahoma City site is the only depot capable of performing all F135 power module scope levels for the F-35, and expanding its capacities is the right decision as the military begins adopting the new F135 Engine Core Upgrade.”
According to Jill Albertelli, the President of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, the company has expanded its presence in Oklahoma City due to the high demand for their newer products, including the F135 engine for the F-35 fighter. The engine is about to undergo its first scheduled maintenance cycle, and the company has seen an increase in operational tempo for other engine programmes aimed at safeguarding US national security interests. The expansion is aimed at ensuring that the company has the necessary personnel, processes, and infrastructure to keep up with the growing demand.
Dating back to the 1940s, Pratt & Whitney has established deep roots in Oklahoma City. At that time, the Army set up a depot for the C-47 Skytrain and its R-1830 Twin Wasp engines, which marked the beginning of the company’s presence in the area. The location has become the central hub of Pratt & Whitney’s worldwide sustainment network, serving as a crucial component in several of the company’s most significant military engine initiatives. In 2022, the F117, F119, and F135 Heavy Maintenance Centres achieved unprecedented production levels, underscoring the city’s pivotal role in these programmes.