Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies’ company, has been awarded a new contract to support the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) F135 engine enhancement effort.

The estimated value of the contract is approximately $115m.

The company’s F135 engine supports all three variants of F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

The engine enhancement effort, also known as an engine core upgrade, is the fastest and a low-risk way to provide Block 4 capability upgrade to all the current F-35 users worldwide.

It is cost-effective and the only available F-35 propulsion alternative or ‘ drop-in solution’ that applies to all F-35 variants.

The company stated that this option will further minimise the addition of extra weight and reduce disruptive and expensive air vehicle changes to avoid extra expenses, technical risks and schedule delays.

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Pratt & Whitney Military Engines business president Jill Albertelli said: “Upgrades like this are a normal part of any major defence programme and the F135 engine has been pushed beyond its original specifications for too long.

“The F-35 engine core upgrade saves taxpayers $40bn in lifecycle costs and builds upon a combat-tested engine architecture that has more than one million flight hours.”

Work under the latest award will allow Pratt & Whitney to carry out the associated preliminary development tasks until 2023.

It will be performed at the company’s facility in Connecticut, US, and will sustain and generate around 53,000 job opportunities across the country.

The programme already supports more than 27,000 direct/indirect jobs and engages 100 suppliers in Connecticut alone.

House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro said: “Pratt & Whitney employs more than 11,000 people in East Hartford and Middletown and is a core component of the state’s economy.”