Propelled with Confidence

Le Bourget, France Pratt & Whitney is offering to accelerate the start of a performance-based logistics arrangement for sustainment of the F-35’s F135 engine by four years to 2015, said Bennett Croswell, president of the company’s military engines business. The F-35 program office is planning to have a PBL setup for the F135 in 2019, but “we would like to pull that forward to 2015, and we would do that in a firm, fixed-price approach,” he told reporters here on June 19, the third day of the 50th Paris Air Show. Such an approach means P&W would assume the risk of any cost overrun for its PBL activities. Plus, if the company executed its work for less than the PBL contract’s value, it “would share that benefit with the US government,” said Croswell. P&W’s willingness to forge this arrangement “shows the confidence we have in the F135 engine,” he said. In return, the company seeks to cement a longer term commitment from the Defense Department—35 years—in the initial PBL contract “so that we would be incentivized to invest and earn some of that investment back,” he said. The company is confident that it can achieve “appreciably” lower F135 lifecycle costs than the Defense Department’s estimates as reflected in the selected acquisition reports to Congress, said Croswell. “We would be willing to sign up for less than the SAR estimates,” he said, giving DOD the immediate benefit of lower costs. (See also Pratt & Whitney Add Thrust to Pace of F135 Contract Negotiations)