The U.S. Department of Defense and Pratt & Whitney have reached an agreement in principle for a production contract for the sixth lot of F135 propulsion systems to power the F-35 Lightning II, which continues a reduction in costs associated with engine production.
The low rate initial production contract covers 38 total engines, including program management, engineering support, production non-recurring effort, sustainment and spare parts.
Cost details will be released when the LRIP 6 contract is finalized; however, in general, the unit prices for the 32 common configuration engines which are used to power both the conventional takeoff and landing aircraft and the aircraft-carrier variant aircraft reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 2.5 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for 35 engines. The unit prices for the six short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft engines reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 9.6 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for three STOVL engines.
“This agreement represents a fair deal for Government and Pratt & Whitney,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program and we are working together - in each successive contract - to lower costs for the propulsion system.”
The 38 total engines in the sixth lot contract include 36 install engines and two CTOL whole spare engines. The new contract will also include the first propulsion systems for Italy and Australia.
“We took on 100 percent overrun risk in LRIP 5 ahead of the government’s requirement to do so, and the progress we made in finalizing that contract allowed us to come to an agreement on this sixth lot of engines only four months later. We continue to be laser-focused on reducing costs, meeting our delivery schedule commitments, and increasing the tempo of contracting for LRIP 7 and LRIP 8,” said Chris Flynn, vice president, Pratt & Whitney F135/F119 Engine Programs. “We share the JPO’s commitment to ensuring the Services are ready for Initial Operational Capability and making the overall F-35 program a success.”
To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 107 production engines. Deliveries of LRIP 6 engines will begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The F135 engine has powered 3,548 flights and 5,432 flight test hours, with 27,243 development and flight test hours completed. The F-35B STOVL aircraft have accomplished more than 600 vertical landings.