Pratt & Whitney Clinches $5.2B F-35 Lightning II Engine Contract

Pratt & Whitney has received a $5.2-billion order to produce and deliver additional F135 engines to power all three F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft variants.

The follow-on contract was awarded after the US government cleared the company to resume engine deliveries after discovering a safety issue.

The contract covers 278 Lot 15 and 16 F135 engines, but the country can exercise an option to order up to 240 more.

The multibillion-dollar agreement also requires Pratt & Whitney to provide program management, engineering support, production support, and tooling to its American customer.

“This marks a major milestone for the program,” company vice president Jen Latka said. “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.”

As of December 2022, the US military has received more than 1,000 F135 engines from Pratt & Whitney.

‘Most Advanced Fighter Engine’

Described as the “most powerful” and “most advanced” fighter engine in the US arsenal, the F135 delivers a “step change in capability” over previous fighter engines.

It features a substantial increase in thermal management capacity, enabling the full spectrum of weapons and sensor capabilities.

The engine also has a precise and responsive integrated control system to allow pilots to focus on their missions.

Additionally, the F135 is designed to have an unmatched low observable signature for operations conducted in modern anti-access/area denial environments.

Safety Issue

In December last year, the Pentagon halted the delivery of F135 engines pending an investigation into the cause of an F-35B crash on December 15.

Reports revealed a propulsion system issue caused the hovering aircraft to crash in Fort Worth, Texas, during an acceptance test.

Israel also grounded 11 of its F-35I fighter jets following the incident.

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