The Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney to set up a maintenance, repair, overhaul, & upgrade (MRO&U) capability for the F135 engine that powers the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.
The initial depot activation contract covers planning and management activities required for MRO&U activation in 2019.
Further contracts with P&W and the F-35 Joint Program Office would support the establishment of F135 depot capabilities, including assembly, disassembly, cleaning, and inspection as well as testing at the Logistics Center Woensdrecht.
Pratt & Whitney Military Engines president Bennett Croswell said: "As we prepare for an increase in F135 engine production, we need partners who demonstrate the high levels of technical capabilities that are required to support the F135 internationally.
"The Netherlands MoD’s participation in MRO&U will ensure we have robust sustainment capability in the European region."
In March this year, the Netherlands MoD placed an order for initial batch of F-35 aircraft. A total of eight F-35 fighters will be supplied by Lockheed Martin to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) by 2019.
In December 2014, the US Department of Defense (DoD) assigned the Netherlands as one of the European countries to perform maintenance of the F135 engines.
Logistics Center Woensdrecht commander air commodore Mario Verbeek said: "After the Netherlands engine MRO&U assigned by the US DoD, the MRO&U standup contract is the next important step towards the Netherlands’ goal to provide Pratt & Whitney and the F-35 operators with world class F135 MRO&U services by the end of 2019."
The Netherlands already received two F-35 test aircraft that are anticipated to start operations after the completion of the test phase in 2018.
Image: The Pratt & Whitney F135 engine for the F-35B. Photo: courtesy of Duch.seb