WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has reached an agreement with Pratt & Whitney for the ninth low rate initial production (LRIP) lot of F135 engines, which power the F-35 joint strike fighter.
The agreement, worth an estimated $1.4 billion over the life of the production lot, covers 66 engines, as well as spares, extra parts, and support from the Connecticut-based engine manufacturer. Specifically, the breakdown is 53 conventional takeoff and landing engines, used in the F-35A and F-35C models, and 13 short takeoff and vertical landing models used for the F-35B model.
The engine lot also includes engines for five international partners and customers: Italy, Norway, Israel, Japan and the United Kingdom. Engines under this contract should begin delivery before the end of the year, according to a Pratt statement.
The company also notes it expects to be on contract for LRIP 10 by the end of this month.
The agreement is not a surprise, as the Pentagon said it had an agreement in principal with Pratt in January. At the time, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program head, said that unit prices the CTOL engines dropped 3.4 percent between LRIP 8 and LRIP 10, while unit prices for the STOVL engines decreased 6.4 percent.
"The latest agreement with the F-35 Joint Program Office continues a reduction in costs associated with engine production, and demonstrates our commitment in providing affordable and dependable propulsion for the global F-35 program," said Mark Buongiorno, Pratt's vice president for the F135 Engine Program, in the statement.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.