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F-35 Continued Production Lands P&W Engine Contract

by: Matthew Potter
January 10, 2012

Category: Business Line, Companies, Congress, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Federal Budget Process, FMS, GE, Japan, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, production program, Rolls-Royce, Services, Turkey, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, UTC | RSS 2.0

The F-35 will continue production in FY12 and FY13. The Pentagon has gone ahead and ordered the FY12 buy from Lockheed Martin (LMT) for another 30 or so aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Marines and Navy as well as various foreign partners. This contract was awarded in December. The full production buy follows the advance procurement purchase made last year to support the long lead items for the latest production batch of the advanced fighter. The future of the program may get more interesting depending on how big a cut the Pentagon needs to make in the FY13 and out. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the biggest acquisition program in history if all parts of it are executed coming in at well over a trillion dollars for production and support over the program’s lifetime. In order to save funding cuts to this total investment might become easy.

As part of the F-35 production there has to be engines and now that the fight between the F-135 manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technologies (UTX), and the alternate engine from General Electric (GE) and Rolls-Royce (RR:LSE) is over those orders need to go to Pratt.

This means that last week as part of the upcoming advanced procurement for future aircraft P&W received a contract worth almost $200 million to support the engine production for 37 F-35 for the U.S., Italy and Australia.

The F-35 despite the fact that the budget wars about to affect the Pentagon may seriously change the program has had a few good weeks. First, Japan decided to buy it to replace some of their F-15 aircraft. Turkey also decided to buy two of the aircraft from a potential order of 100.

The contracts could be worth billions to Lockheed Martin and its supporting contractors as well aid the U.S. by decreasing the price of their aircraft. Every F-35 sold to another country will help keep production quantities up and prices down.

Overall the F-35 forms the core of the U.S. plans to modernize its aircraft fleets. Cuts in its quantities will only mean a requirement for older aircraft to fly longer at greater cost or reduced capability for the United States. This means despite the potential for reductions in U.S. defense spending the F-35 will remain a large part of the budget for the next several years.

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