The Pentagon has awarded Pratt & Whitney an additional contract to supply several hundred engines for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet.
The contract, with a maximum value of $4.38 billion, is an addition to a previous one and covers Lot 15 and 16 versions of the P&W F135, a US Department of Defense Contract Notice states. The powerplant currently holds the title of the most powerful fighter jet engine in the world.
The contract will include 152 F135-PW-100 engines intended for the F-35A, with 108 of them slated for delivery to the US Air Force, 29 for the Navy, and 15 for the Marine Corps.
26 additional engines, intended for the Marine Corps, will be of the F135-PW-600 variant. This variant is used on the F-35B, which has a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) capability.
In addition, an unspecified number of engines and parts will be delivered to foreign customers. Currently nine countries – including the United Kingdom, Israel, Japan and Australia – operate at least one variant of the F-35, with numerous other countries awaiting their deliveries or preparing an order of the jet.
While the Contract Notice does not specify the exact number of total engines ordered, Defense News reports that it covers at least 250 units.
The deliveries of the new engines will start later in 2022 and are expected to be completed by the end of April 2025.
In February 2022 Lockheed Martin announced the completion of the 900th fuselage for the F-35. At least several hundred of the fuselages are in various stages of completion, waiting to be fitted with the new engines.
In total, 750 F-35s of various models were delivered by the end of 2021, making it by far the most numerous fifth-generation fighter jet, and one of the most mass-produced military aircraft of this century.
Lockheed Martin plans to ramp up the deliveries further, completing nearly 200 in 2022 and bringing the grand total of operational F-35s to over 900.