The Pentagon has awarded Pratt & Whitney a $649 million contract modification to fund the completion of the F135 engine's system development and demonstration (SDD) phase.

The company says the award is primarily related to flight testing and engineering support, but it includes the purchase of two additional spare flight test engines and associated spares.

"This contract modification allows Pratt & Whitney to complete the F135 engine system development and demonstration programme for the [Lockheed Martin] F-35 Lightning II," the company says. "Pratt & Whitney is pleased to receive this award as it will allow us to remain in lock step with the government and with our teammates at Lockheed Martin as we work together to complete testing and begin to ramp up production of the F135 engine."

P&W says the contract modification extends the SDD phase, pushing the end of development from 30 September 2013 out to 31 December 2016. The company says the measure is needed because Lockheed has extended flight testing to validate the initial service release configuration for the F-35.

"Our contract needed to be extended to support Lockheed Martin flight test," it says. "The [US] government chose to add additional tasks to the Pratt & Whitney contract to improve affordability and advance engine performance."

So far, P&W has delivered 17 conventional engines for the F-35 and 14 for the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B variant under the SDD programme.

The company has also delivered a total of 100 F135 production engines, including 60 conventional model engines and 40 STOVL examples.

Source: Flight International