He said Pratt was in talks with the Pentagon about accelerating moves to fixed-price terms for operations and maintenance of the engines under a performance-based logistics contract, which he said could generate additional savings.
The Pentagon’s F-35 program office agreed in late July on the terms of a contract for the sixth and seventh orders of F-35s with Lockheed Martin, which builds the jets.
The government buys the engines from Pratt & Whitney and then provides them to Lockheed. Pratt is the sole producer of F135 engines for the radar-evading plane. The latest agreement in principle will be finalized in coming weeks.
The Pentagon said the agreement reflected a 2.5 percent reduction in each of the 32 common configuration engines, which power both the Air Force’s conventional take-off variant of the F-35 and the Navy’s carrier variant.
The unit prices for the six engines that power the Marine Corps’ short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, were about 9.6 percent lower compared with the previous contract, according to the statement.
“Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program and we are working together - in each successive contract - to lower costs for the propulsion system,” said Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the Pentagon official who runs the F-35 program.
The deal includes 36 engines to be installed in aircraft and two spares. It also includes the first propulsion systems for planes to be sold to Italy and Australia.
Pratt & Whitney has delivered 107 production engines for the F-35 to date and will start delivering engines covered by the latest contract in the fourth quarter.
The Pentagon announced later on Tuesday that Pratt had won a contract worth $70 million in preliminary funding to start purchasing parts and components for an eighth batch of 29 F135 engines, as well as 10 engines for Britain, Italy and Norway that will be included in the seventh batch.