RAF FAIRFORD, England — Pratt & Whitney has landed a $1.5 billion contract for the 10th batch of low-rate initial production (LRIP) engines used to power the F-35, the US Defense Department announced Thursday.

According to the contract announcement, the company will provide 44 F135 engines for the Air Force's F-35A, four for the Navy's F-35C and nine for the F-35B operated by the Marine Corps, as well as spares, components and engineering support. It also will produce 42 engines for foreign military sales customers and partner nations participating in the joint strike partner program as part of the agreement.

Pratt & Whitney stands to rake in a total $1.95 billion for the LRIP 10 contract, when factoring in long lead and sustainment awards, the F-35 joint program office (JPO) said in a statement. Deliveries of the 10th batch of engines could start as soon as 2017.

"The propulsion system team has kept their word in delivering on their price reduction commitments for the F135 propulsion system, which is critical to making the F-35 more affordable for the US military and our allies," said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer.

The LRIP 10 contract covers 86 conventional takeoff-and-landing and carrier variant engines, which are used for the A- and C-models, respectively. Compared to the LRIP 9 agreement, the price per unit has been reduced by 2.6 percent, the JPO stated.

For the short takeoff and vertical landing version, the cost per unit has been slashed by 4.2 percent in comparison to the LRIP 9 contract, it said.

"Pratt & Whitney and our supply base remain focused on delivering the F135 propulsion system to the war fighter at or below the cost targets established in 2009 for our US and international customers," said Mark Buongiorno, vice president for Pratt & Whitney's F135 engine program. "This agreement for the next lot of F135 engines continues to drive down costs, and we intend to keep up this momentum."

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