The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Pratt & Whitney a $1.5bn low rate initial production (LRIP) contract for the tenth lot of F135 propulsion systems to power all three variants of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The contract will cover 99 total engines, as well as program management, engineering support, production non-recurring efforts, spare modules and spare parts.

"The propulsion system team has kept their word in delivering on their price reduction commitments for the F135 propulsion system, which is critical to making the F-35 more affordable for the U.S. military and our allies," said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer. 

Compared to the previous LRIP production contract, unit prices for 86 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) and carrier variant (CV) propulsion systems were reduced by 2.6%, and unit prices for 13 LRIP 10 short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion systems, including Rolls-Royce Lift Systems, were reduced by 4.2%.

Since 2009, Pratt & Whitney has reduced the cost of the common CTOL and CV F135 engines by half, and the STOVL propulsion system by nearly 35%. The U.S. Government has also invested in improvements to F135 affordability. Combined, the Pratt & Whitney and U.S. Government investments since 2009 are projected to yield approximately $7.5 billion in savings over the decades-long life of the F-35 program.

To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 288 F135 production engines, and deliveries of LRIP 10 engines will start in 2017. With the anticipated delivery of engine 300 later this year, targeted investments and design enhancements will continue to drive additional cost savings for the F-35 program.