Pratt & Whitney's F135 Engine Core Upgrade (ECU) for the F-35 Lightning II has received $75 million in additional funding in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill.
"If the services and our allies want Block 4 enabled F-35s before the end of the decade, the engine needs a core upgrade," said Jen Latka, vice president of F135 programs at Pratt & Whitney. Latka says the upgraded engine will be ready for fielding by 2028.
According to Pratt & Whitney, its ECU is the only F-35 propulsion modernization option suitable for all F-35 variants. The company says it will yield $40 billion in lifecycle cost savings by avoiding disruptive and costly air vehicle changes and leveraging the current sustainment infrastructure.
According to Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Pratt & Whitney has reduced the cost of the F135 engine by 50% since production began, and the engine has performed at twice its original specifications for years. DeLauro says an upgrade is overdue and will cost billions less than a new engine.
The F135 program supports 53,000 jobs across 36 states in total; including 27,000 jobs in Connecticut, 3,000 jobs in Maine, and 2,300 jobs in Florida.
Earlier this month, Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business, won a $115 million contract for the F135 engine enhancement effort.