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Pratt & Whitney at the DoD F-35 Program Office announced on 31 May a contract for the 11th low rate initial production (LRIP) lot of F135 engines (with associated spares, support and programme management) to power the F-35 LIGHTNING II. The total award value is approx. $2 billion, but both parties make a strong point that they continue “to support programme affordability initiatives, with reduction in propulsion system price.”

“This agreement for the next lot of F135 engines represents a fair deal for the US government, the international partnership and industry […] Affordability is our number one priority, and by working together, we are making steady progress in reducing F-35 propulsion costs,” commented F-35 Program Executive Officer, Vice-Adm. Mat Winter.

In general, the unit recurring flyaway (URF) price for the 110 LRIP Lot 11 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) and carrier variant (CV) propulsion systems will be reduced 0.34% from the previously negotiated LRIP Lot 10 URF. For the 25 short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion systems (including lift systems) covered in LRIP Lot 11, the reduction will be 3.39%.

"Pratt & Whitney and our supply chain remain committed to continual cost reduction for the F135 engine and to providing a superior product at the best value for our US and international customers. […] Since 2009, we have reduced the production cost of the F135 by more than half and are now pursuing additional affordability initiatives to drive down engine production and sustainment costs even further throughout the F-35's planned lifecycle,” added Pratt & Whitney’s Vice President, F135 Programme, John Wiedemer.

To date, the company has delivered 375 F135 engines. Deliveries of LRIP 11 engines will start this year.

Though incremental price reductions may appear small, Pratt & Whitney has reduced production costs of the F135 engine by more than half since programme inception. (Photo: Pratt & Whitney)

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