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WASHINGTON – The Pentagon and engine maker Pratt & Whitney have reached a handshake agreement on the ninth and tenth batches of F135 engines to power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the department announced today.

The ninth and tenth low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts will cover 66 and 101 engines, respectively, according to a Jan. 15 statement from the Joint Program Office.

JPO chief Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan welcomed cost savings found in the new deal. The unit prices for Air Force and Navy variant engines dropped 3.4 percent from the previous lot, LRIP 8, to LRIP 10. Meanwhile, the unit prices for the Marine Corps’ short takeoff and vertical landing engines decreased 6.4 percent.

"This agreement for the next two lots of F135 engines continues to drive down costs and that’s critical to making the F-35 more affordable for the US military and our allies," Bogdan said, according to the statement. “We are ramping up production and witnessing tangible results.”

The total award value will be released when the LRIP 9 and 10 contracts are finalized.

Deliveries of the ninth batch of engines will begin this year, while deliveries of the tenth lot will start in 2017.

Email: lseligman@defensenews.com

Twitter: @laraseligman

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