The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Pratt & Whitney a contract for the seventh lot of F135 propulsion systems to power F-35 Lightning II aircraft. Today's contract announcement for $592 million raises the total procurement contract value to $680 million. In December 2013, a $263 million sustainment contract was previously awarded bringing the total LRIP 7 propulsion cost to $943 million.
The low rate initial production (LRIP) contract for the seventh lot will deliver 36 total engines. The contract also includes program management, engineering support and spare modules. The contract also includes Pratt & Whitney's commitment to cover the cost of corrective actions for previously delivered propulsion systems and modules to correct the third stage fan blade failure. Both parties anticipate a follow on LRIP 8 contract for 48 engines to be awarded in the near future.
"Pratt & Whitney has kept their commitment to lower costs for the F135 propulsion system," said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer. "The government has negotiated a price for both LRIP 7 and 8 engines on Pratt & Whitney's 'War on Cost' plan. As we move toward full rate production and operational maturity, driving down cost will remain critical to the success of the F-35 program."
Average prices for the conventional takeoff and landing and carrier variant (CTOL/CV) and short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant engines were reduced roughly 4.5 percent from LRIP 6 to LRIP 7, and a similar price reduction is expected for LRIP 8 engines.
"We continue to be laser-focused on reducing costs and meeting our delivery schedule commitments," said Chris Flynn, vice president, Pratt & Whitney F135/F119 Engine Programs. "We share the JPO's commitment to ensure the Services are ready for Initial Operational Capability and making the overall F-35 program a success."
As a precursor to this engine award, a joint investigation team met and supports the identified root cause of the June 23 engine mishap at Eglin Air Force Base, which is prolonged rubbing into the material in the stator. This rubbing decomposed and superheated the titanium rotor leading to excessive heating which started very small cracks in a titanium seal and then led to failure of the third stage fan rotor. The JPO and Pratt & Whitney are executing a plan to modify the current fielded operational and test engines and implement a long term solution for production engines.
Source: Pratt & Whitney, A United Technologies Company (NYSE:UTX)
Date: Oct 15, 2014