The US Air Force has awarded five companies $4.9 billion in contracts to develop next-generation fighter jet adaptive engine prototypes.
Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Pratt & Whitney have each received an “indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract” for up to $975 million to develop a prototype for the Next Generation Adaptive Propulsion program.
The design, testing, and weapon system integration of the prototype engines is expected to be complete by July 2032.
The award of the new contracts is an expansion of adaptive engine development efforts. Only two companies — GE Aviation and Raytheon Technologies-owned Pratt & Whitney — have thus far been developing engines as part of the Adaptive Engine Transition Program to replace the F-35 joint strike fighter engine for the US Air Force.
The technology employs advanced technologies such as the introduction of a third airstream to improve range, thrust, and fuel efficiency.
The Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, told lawmakers in April that such an engine “would offer substantially increased power that would allow it to operate modernized capabilities” if integrated into the F-35, according to Defense News.