The F-35 fighter program is over budget and
behind schedule, but the contractors are working hard to get back cut costs and
adhere to time schedules. One of the most costly components of the F-35 is its
engine made by Pratt & Whitney. The company has announced that it is
working to lower
the price of the engine and that the price could drop even more in the
This news comes ahead of the start of negotiations
between the Pentagon and primary contractor Lockheed Martin for the next batch
of fighters. Bennett Croswell, president of Pratt & Whitney military
engines said, "We have activities planned and in place to bring the cost
down in [low-rate initial production] 5."
The fifth batch of F-35 fighters is part of the
LRIP 5 batch. Pratt & Whitney has plans to reduce the cost of the F135
engine to the price of the older F119 engine that the F-22A uses. What exactly
those prices are is unknown since that is proprietary information owned by the
engine builder. Pratt & Whitney has said that it was able to beat the price
target during the negotiations for the fourth batch of fighters and it hoped to
be able to beat pricing again on the fifth batch purchase.
Croswell said, "We're constantly looking at
ways to do even better than what that plan is."
While negotiations are going on for the next batch
of engines, Pratt & Whitney has announced that it has found a way to
increase the thrust of the F135 engine used in the vertically landing version
of the F-35 that will be flown by the Marine Corps. The change will add 100
pounds of thrust to the engine and the company is also trying to reduce the
weight of the engine by 100 pounds.
There are some in Washington that want to see
development of the second F-35 engine renewed. An amendment
proposed by the House would allow the second engine to be
developed at the cost of the builder. The second engine for the F-35 was officially
killed in March.