Aircraft Military

F-35’s ambitions backed by Pratt & Whitney through F135 engine production contract

Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business, has secured a contract worth $5.2bn to manufacture the 15th and 16th batches of F135 engines to support the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. The engines will power all three variants of the aircraft, and Pratt & Whitney will provide 278 units with an option to order up to 518 engines for the US Armed Forces and international customers.

According to Airforce Technology, this contract is timely as the F-35 is expected to become the standard NATO fighter, with over 400 stealth fighters across Nato member bases by 2030. Jen Latka, Pratt & Whitney’s Vice President for the F135 program, said, “This marks a major milestone for the program. This contract award enables us to continue delivering critical 5th Generation propulsion capability to the warfighter at a fair and reasonable cost for the taxpayer”. The company will also provide program management, engineering, production, and tooling support.

The awarding of the engine contract to Pratt & Whitney is expected to support the growth of Lockheed Martin and help maintain geopolitical stability by deterring threats in regions. Nations such as Canada and Germany are set to benefit from this engine contract, with Canada finalising an agreement to procure 88 F-35A’s for the RCAF, while Germany approved an $8.83bn contract to buy 35 F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin late last year.

The F-35 fighter aircraft is equipped with advanced sensors, ωeapons capacity, range, and stealth technology, making it a fifth-generation lethal, survivable and connected aircraft. Pratt & Whitney engines have been powering the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Craft since 2009 in a $571m contract. Since the program’s inception, Pratt & Whitney’s “ωɑɾ on cost” efforts have reduced the average unit cost of an F135 by over 50%, resulting in an estimated $8.1bn in cumulative engine savings over the life of the program. As of December 2022, Pratt & Whitney has supplied over 1,000 F135 production engines.

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