September 25, 2008 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Pratt & Whitney was awarded a production contract worth up to $491 million (including options) for F135 propulsion systems to power the F-35 Lightning II.
The F135-powered F-35B STOVL aircraft has completed 13 successful flight tests to date.
This second F135 low rate initial production contract will support 12 F-35 production aircraft, including six short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL
) and six conventional take-off/landing (CTOL
). Propulsion system deliveries are scheduled to begin in third quarter 2009.
"This is our second production contract for CTOL engines and the introduction of the first production deliveries for the STOVL configuration," said Bill Gostic, vice president, Pratt & Whitney F135 engine programs. "This milestone indicates the continued maturity of the F135 engine powering the F-35 today, and validates the confidence our customer has in the CTOL and STOVL propulsion systems."
In addition to F135 propulsion systems, the contract covers program management, initial logistics support, engineering assistance, spare propulsion systems and parts, and production tooling. This award is one in a series of milestones for the F135 engine program, including exceeding 10,000 ground test hours as part of the system development and demonstration program; logging 51 successful flight tests and more than 54 flight test hours of the F135-powered CTOL F-35 aircraft; and completing 13 flights of the F-35B powered by Pratt & Whitney's F135 STOVL propulsion system.
Rated at more than 40,000 pounds of thrust, the F135 is the most powerful fighter engine ever built. The F135 is an evolution of the highly successful F119 engine for the F-22 Raptor.
By the time the F-35 enters operation, the F119 engines will have logged more than 480,000 flight hours. In addition, the F135 will have logged 16,000 flight hours and more than 17,000 ground test hours. The ground and flight test experience demonstrate the maturity and the associated reliability of the F135 engine.