The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Pratt & Whitney a contract valued at approximately $1.4 billion for the production of the ninth lot of F135 propulsion systems powering the F-35 Lightning II.
The ninth low rate initial production (LRIP) contract covers 66 total production engines, including spare engines, spare modules, and spare parts for the field, as well as program management, engineering support, production non-recurring effort, and tooling.
The LRIP 9 production contract include 53 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) and 13 short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion systems for the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps as well as five countries - Italy, Norway, Israel, Japan and the United Kingdom.
"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, vice president, Pratt & Whitney F135 Engine Program. "We remain laser-focused on reducing costs, meeting our delivery schedule commitments, ensuring dependable engine performance, and preparing for global sustainment of the F-35 fleet."
The F135 engine maintains a 96 percent full mission capability requirement, and new production engine reliability is exceeding 90 percent, well ahead of key 2020 requirements.
To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 273 production engines. Production of the first LRIP 9 engine is underway, with deliveries of LRIP 9 engines scheduled to begin in the second quarter of this year.
Pratt & Whitney is working with the F-35 Joint Program Office to finalize details regarding LRIP 10 engine production and expects an award of that contract by the end of April 2016.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above statement needs some clarification to avoid adding to the financial confusion surrounding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Pratt & Whitney’s statement above includes a previous LRIP Lot 9 award for sustainment, P&W spokesman Matthew Bates said in an April 12 e-mail.
The Pentagon’s April 11 announcement of the same Lot 9 contract states its value at $1,038,074,689 because it does not include the $362 million sustainment award.
Also of interest are the engine unit prices that can be calculated from the figures provided in the Pentagon’s announcement.
-- The 11 spare F135-PW-100 engines for FMS customers cost $146,550,108, which works out to $13.3 million per engine.
-- The US Navy is paying $226.5 million for seven of the same -100 engines (so, total cost 7x$13.3 million = $93.1 million) and seven F135-PW-600 engines for the F-35B STOVL variant.
Consequently, the -600 version has a unit cost of about $19.05 million ($226.5m - $93.1m = $133.4m / 7 = $19.05 million).
These figures, however, do not include additional funding of about $362 million, which cannot be accurately apportioned by engine type but which, on average, adds another $5.45 million to the cost of each of these Lot 9 engines.)