Pratt & Whitney has won a $115m contract for the F135 engine enhancement effort, also referred to as an engine core upgrade.
"Upgrades like this are a normal part of any major defence program and the F135 engine has been pushed beyond its original specifications for too long," said Jill Albertelli, president of Pratt & Whitney's military engines business. "The F-35 engine core upgrade saves taxpayers $40 billion in lifecycle costs and builds upon a combat-tested engine architecture that has more than one million flight hours. We deeply appreciate Chairwoman DeLauro's support on this critical program."
The contract award will support Pratt & Whitney's preliminary development activities through 2023.
"Pratt & Whitney is one of the foremost leaders in advanced technology and defence manufacturing," said Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. "The recent announcement will protect good paying union jobs in Connecticut, while providing a much-needed charge to our economy. Pratt & Whitney employs more than 11,000 people in East Hartford and Middletown and is a core component of our state's economy. I was proud to fight for this investment in F135 modernization, and you have my word that I will always fight to keep these jobs in Connecticut."
The company says the F135 engine core upgrade delivers the fastest, most cost efficient, lowest risk path to Block 4 capability for all global F-35 operators. It is the only F-35 propulsion option that is a 'drop in' solution for all variants, adding no weight and avoiding disruptive and costly air vehicle changes that would introduce additional costs, schedule delays, and technical risk.
The F135 programme is a major driver of economic growth in the state of Connecticut and around the country, supporting more than 53,000 jobs across 36 states. In Connecticut alone, the program supports more than 27,000 direct and indirect jobs and nearly 100 suppliers.