The Pentagon and Pratt & Whitney have reached an agreement in principle for a production contract for the sixth lot of engines for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

"This agreement represents a fair deal for [the] government and Pratt & Whitney," says Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, F-35 programme executive officer. "Driving down cost is critical to the success of this programme, and we are working together - in each successive contract - to lower costs for the propulsion system."

The low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract covers 38 engines. "Cost details will be released when the LRIP 6 contract is finalised," the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) says.

Generally, unit prices for the conventional version of the F135 are expected to drop by 2.5% compared to the previous production lot, according to the JPO. The price of six short take-off and vertical landing F135 engines will drop by roughly 9.6%.

P&W has delivered 107 production engines for the F-35 so far. Deliveries of LRIP 6 engines will begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Source: Flight International