Pratt & Whitney delivered the first F135 lot 3 production engine for the F-35 strike fighter program last week. The engines in this batch incorporate modifications and improvements based on F-35 flight testing. “Delivery of our 21st production engine is a significant milestone for the F-35 program, as we continue to deliver a more mature and capable F135 engine to meet the evolving needs of the warfighter,” said Bennett Croswell, Pratt’s vice president of F135/F119 engine programs, in the company’s release. “In doing so, we continue reducing costs to produce a more affordable and reliable product for our customers.” Pratt wants to be the sole supplier of F-35 engines, but a General Electric-Rolls Royce team is fighting Pentagon efforts to kill its F136 as a competing option. (See also Pratt Responds on F135 Quality from the Daily Report archives.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.