Pratt & Whitney has awarded Rolls-Royce a $315 million contract to produce LiftSystem equipment for 17 F135-powered short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B combat aircraft.

Announced on 1 May, the propulsion system order covers the delivery of LiftFans, roll posts and three-bearing swivel modules this year for 17 aircraft included in Lockheed Martin's fourth low-rate initial production (LRIP) deal for the Joint Strike Fighter.

 F-35B Wasp - Lockheed Martin

© Lockheed Martin

R-R says it has so far delivered 32 LiftSystems, plus spare parts. These have been installed on test aircraft and early production examples, including three US Marine Corps jets recently delivered to Eglin AFB, Florida, and the first of two STOVL test aircraft flown for the UK for the first time in April.

"We anticipate continuous cost improvements as production volumes ramp up to meet the needs of the F-35 programme," says Neil Mehta, R-R's LiftSystem programme director.

The company expects to receive its next order for LRIP 5 aircraft later this year.

Source: Flight International