The price of F135 engines, which power the F-35 fighter, will drop again in the ninth and 10th production lots. The F-35 System Program Office announced on Jan. 15 a “handshake deal” with Pratt & Whitney for the work, which will produce 52 conventional/carrier takeoff motors in Lot 9 and 87 in Lot 10 at 3.4 percent less than the Lot 8 negotiated price. For the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing version, the 13 Lot 9 and 14 Lot 10 motors and associated lift systems went down 6.4 percent from the Lot 8 price. Both deals include program management, engineering support, production non-recurring work, spare parts, and modules. The agreement “continues to drive down costs, and that’s critical to making the F-35 more affordable for the US military and our allies,” SPO Director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said in a statement. To date, Pratt has delivered 262 F135 engines. Lot 9 deliveries begin this year and Lot 10 in 2017. The agreement will be signed at a later date.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.