WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense has awarded Pratt & Whitney a bridge contract worth nearly $4.4 billion to supply at least 250 engines for the F-35 fighter.
The F-35 Joint Program Office contract amendment will cover production of the 15th and 16th batches of the F135 engine used in all three variants of the F-35.
The Pentagon said Wednesday that 178 of the engines that will be produced under this contract will go to American F-35s. Pratt & Whitney said the remaining engines will go to the forces of allied nations who also fly the aircraft.
If all contract options are exercised, Pratt & Whitney said it could cover up to 518 engines with a total value of about $8 billion.
The agreement aims to keep the F135 engines in production while Pratt & Whitney and the F-35 JPO finalize a formal production contract for batches 15 through 17, for which they reached an agreement in principle in April.
Pratt & Whitney plans to begin shipping these engines this year and continue through the end of 2025.
Most of the F-135-PW-100 engines, 108 of them, will go to Air Force F-35As. Another 29 will go to the Navy and 15 will go to the Marine Corps. The contract also includes 26 F-135-PW-600 engines for the Marines, which power the F-35B vertical take-off and landing variant flown by that service.
The deal would also provide a Block 4 STOVL development engine for flight testing.
The contract covers the components, parts and long-lead materials needed to keep these engines in production for overseas customers, as well as spare engines, power modules and other hardware.
Work will be performed at sites, including sites in Connecticut, where Pratt & Whitney is headquartered.
Stephen Losey is Defense News’ air warfare reporter. He previously reported for Military.com, covering the Pentagon, special ops and air warfare. Prior to that, he covered Air Force leadership, personnel, and operations for Air Force Times.