F135Afterburner (1)

WASHINGTON: Not much to add to today’s release about the sixth batch of F135 engines powering the Joint Strike Fighter. The deal is worth over $1 billion but we don’t have a precise figure yet or costs per engine.

Here’s the nub: “in general, the unit prices for the 32 common configuration engines which are used to power both the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft and the aircraft-carrier variant (CV) aircraft reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 2.5 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for 35 engines. The unit prices for the 6 short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft engines reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 9.6 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for 3 STOVL engines.”

Here’s the release in full:

The U.S. Department of Defense and Pratt & Whitney have reached an agreement in principle for a production contract for the sixth lot of F135 propulsion systems to power the F-35 Lightning II, which continues a reduction in costs associated with engine production.  The low rate initial production (LRIP) contract covers 38 total engines, including program management, engineering support, production non-recurring effort, sustainment and spare parts.

Cost details will be released when the LRIP 6 contract is finalized; however, in general, the unit prices for the 32 common configuration engines which are used to power both the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft and the aircraft-carrier variant (CV) aircraft reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 2.5 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for 35 engines. The unit prices for the 6 short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft engines reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 9.6 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for 3 STOVL engines.

“This agreement represents a fair deal for Government and Pratt & Whitney,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program and we are working together – in each successive contract – to lower costs for the propulsion system.”

The 38 total engines in the sixth lot contract include 36 install engines and two CTOL whole spare engines. The new contract will also include the first propulsion systems for Italy and Australia.

“We took on 100 percent overrun risk in LRIP 5 ahead of the government’s requirement to do so, and the progress we made in finalizing that contract allowed us to come to an agreement on this sixth lot of engines only four months later. We continue to be laser-focused on reducing costs, meeting our delivery schedule commitments, and increasing the tempo of contracting for LRIP 7 and LRIP 8,” said Chris Flynn, vice president, Pratt & Whitney F135/F119 Engine Programs. “We share the JPO’s commitment to ensuring the Services are ready for Initial Operational Capability and making the overall F-35 program a success.”

To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 107 production engines. Deliveries of LRIP 6 engines will begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The F135 engine has powered 3,548 flights and 5,432 flight test hours, with 27,243 development and flight test hours completed. The F-35B STOVL aircraft have accomplished more than 600 vertical landings.

 

Comments

  • Mithat

    Thanks for the announcement. It was really informing. Meantime take a look at great F-35 photos:

    F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Pictures

  • Don Bacon

    The GAO needs to look at F135 engine costs — ordinary mortals can’t possibly discern what the real costs are.

    Regarding LRIP 6, P&W was awarded Contract Award Number N00019-12-C-0090 on January 6, 2012, $194,097,296 “to provide the F135 propulsion system and associated sustainment support for the LRIP lot 6 requirements.” (What does sustainment mean?)
    Then for LRIP 6, a contract was awarded Feb 14, 2013, $64,999,589 for maintenance.

    Three other contracts have been awarded to P&W recently–
    –F135 Fuel Burn Reduction Program.
    Oct 19, 2012 $81,870,798
    –F135 System Development and Demonstration
    Jun 10, 2013 $648,769,404
    –F135 Sustainment, site activation and depot activation
    Jun 5, 2013 $133,979,288

    Then on June 10 this year, $648,769,404 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-02-C-3003) to extend the F135 System
    Development and Demonstration contract period of performance.

    So there are piles of various kinds of money going to Pratt, for production, maintenance, development and site activation and assuming that Pratt keeps these monies separate — requiring a leap of faith — taking Lot 6 at 38 planes, it would be $5.1m each. (A similar meddling of monies exists for Lockheed.)

    But now, reading the above, despite the existing contract on LRIP 6, there is a new agreement and “Cost details will be released when the LRIP 6 contract is finalized.”

    So what was the Contract Award Number N00019-12-C-0090 on January 6, 2012, $194,097,296 “to provide the F135 propulsion system and associated sustainment
    support for the LRIP lot 6 requirements.” — chopped liver?

    Something’s rotten in Denmark, methinks. But hey, despite the contract confusiuon, “This agreement represents a fair deal for Government and Pratt & Whitney,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan. — BUT: “The deal is worth over $1 billion but we don’t have a precise figure yet or costs per engine.”

    • SpudmanWP

      Actually, “mere mortals” can easily understand this.

      The January 6, 2012 contract was to get the ball rolling on the production of the F135. The final agreement will fix the final price of the contract. The two will not be added together as the first is part of the last. The same applies to every other long lead government contract.

      As far as the other contracts (Support, SDD, etc), they are covered under separate sections of the budget and can be easily found.

      There is nothing “rotten” going on. This is how every long-term, complex contract is written & executed.

      • Don Bacon

        A contract to get the ball rolling? All the unknowns should have been known by 6, shouldn’t they? What don’t they know? What’s complex about building a jet engine for Lot 6?

        Colin: “The deal is worth over $1 billion but we don’t have a precise figure yet or costs per engine.” Bogus.

        So mere mortals can easily understand this? I don’t. The 2012 contract was to provide the engines — I’d hold them to it. The fact that Pratt is whipping it to the Pentagon is rotten, and another indication on how procurement needs to be reformed. (There are many others.)

        • SpudmanWP

          Maybe I can simplify it for you. Here is an example of a typical contract award, from beginning to end (even the F-15/18 still use this method).

          In the FY2013 budget, the DoD plans on buying 100 widgets. Because these widgets are complex, they take 2 years to build (2014 delivery). However, there are subcomponents that must be ready at the start of the contract in order to begin construction. For these items, a “Long Lead” contract was started in the FY2011 budget so the items would be ready when the production line needs them. From FY2011 to FY2012 several contracts are awarded that cover different parts of the program from estimated procurement, tools, support, etc.

          Because of the complexities of the program, tight budgets, efforts to move the widget contracts from a “cost plus” to a “fixed price” model and the DoD changing the order details, the FY2012 contract negotiations are not finished until FY2013. The first news we hear about them is a generalized “we have reached an agreement” presser where the basics are covered.

          Both parties retire to their offices and gather all the numbers, options, etc that were set forth during the negotiations. They come back together, tally the numbers, agree, and sign a final contract.

          Let me be clear, this contract, and it’s price, covers ALL previous “long lead”, support, maintenance, tooling, parts, spares, etc types of contract announcements that have come out since the FYContact began in FY2011. This number is NOT in addition to previous contracts.

          • Don Bacon

            Wrong on the facts. The 2012 F135 contract awarded to Pratt said nothing about “long lead.” It said “provide the F135 propulsion system.”

            Contract Award Date:
            January 6, 2012
            Contract Award Number:
            N00019-12-C-0090
            Contract Award Dollar Amount:
            $194,097,296

            –provide the F135 propulsion system and associated sustainment support for the LRIP lot 6 requirements. All prior F135 propulsion system contracts procuring propulsion systems for use in the F-35 Air System have been awarded to P&W on a sole-source basis, pursuant to the F-35 Lightning II JSF Acquisition Strategy, approved on 5 December 2008 by the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics), which designated P&W as the sole source to provide the F135 Propulsion System for use in the F-35 Air System.

            Again, this is simply more evidence that Pentagon procurement with its sweetheart contractor-friendly contracts needs to be reformed.

          • SpudmanWP

            The original FBO.gov notice makes it clear and subsequent contracts refer to N00019-12-C-0090 as “a previously awarded advance acquisition contract”.

            http://www.defense.gov/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4979

            https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=8a31bc69fa4fa9a27ef1a5aa08a560be

          • Don Bacon

            Subsequent contracts, in the real world, don’t alter the language of the initial contract except in the Pentagon, but the the contractor-friendly Pentagon is special don’t you know. The normal rules of procurement behavior don’t apply.

            Anyhow, I note that you backed off your bogus “long lead” claim.

          • SpudmanWP

            Here is a “real world” example:

            Your order a car from the dealer (contract 1)
            You buy insurance (contract 2)
            You order some parts (contract 3)
            You buy a service plan (contract 4)
            You build a garage (contract 5)
            You fill the garage with new tools (contract 6)

            btw, “advance acquisition contract” = “long lead”

          • Don Bacon

            . . .provide the F135 propulsion system . . . for the LRIP lot 6 requirements.

            What part of “provide F135 propulsion system” don’t you understand?

            “Cost plus” for a production contract on what should be a mature item — more evidence that Pentagon procurement needs a drastic shakeup.

            No wonder “The deal is worth over $1 billion but we don’t have a precise figure yet or costs per engine.” Rotten.

          • SpudmanWP

            Just because you fail to grasp or understand the basics of advance contracts, does not make them fraudulent. Your problem is that you read a presser and think that is all there is to it.

            The F135 is actually performing ahead of projections and has moved to a fixed cost contract ahead of Government requirements. If they were “evil corporate people”, they would stretch the “cost plus” cycle out as long as possible.

            “We took on 100 percent overrun risk in LRIP 5 ahead of the government’s requirement to do so, and the progress we made in finalizing that contract allowed us to come to an agreement on this sixth lot of engines only four months later.”

            btw, a production run less than 6 years old could not be a “mature” program in anyone’s mind, especially while the fighter itself is still in SDD.

          • Don Bacon

            My comments are not based on any presser — you made that up when your “long lead” crashed and burned.

            My comments are based on the simple English in the contract — provide the F135 propulsion system . . . for the LRIP lot 6 requirements. . .Contract Award Dollar Amount: $194,097,296. And just because your friends in the program office have found a way to fudge simple English doesn’t mean it’s not fraudulent.

          • SpudmanWP

            Again, I did not “make up” the long lead terminology, it’s in the Jan’12 contract

            https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=8a31bc69fa4fa9a27ef1a5aa08a560be

            “The contract type is FPIF (firm target) for the install F135 propulsion systems, of which long lead-time materials were purchased under the Advance Acquisition Contract.”

            Sorry, when I said presser, I was referring to the 1 paragraph “contract announcement” that is often quoted and located on the Defense.gov website.

          • Don Bacon

            From the 2012 contract: “The contract type is FPIF (firm target) for the install F135 propulsion systems, of which long lead-time materials were purchased under the Advance Acquisition Contract.”

            Where I come from, “were” is past tense. It’s already been done. The 2012 contract — yes, I will repeat it again — ‘provide the F135 propulsion system . . . for the LRIP lot 6 requirements.’

            Nice try.

          • sglover

            “Spudman” — likely a Lockheed plant.

          • SpudmanWP

            Plant, no.

            Give me a break ;) as I am only trying to explain the procurement process and how contracts are announced.

            I have been following military tech since before I was in the Army back in the 80′s.

            Not sure what happened to my post of an hour ago, but by looking at the Jan 6th, 2012 Defense.gov announcement it states.

            “United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $194,097,296 advance acquisition contract with fixed-price line items for long lead components, parts, and materials required for the delivery of 37 propulsion systems for the Lot VI F-35 ”

            From this we see that:

            1. It is the first contract for Lot6 F135s (no mention of previously awarded contract)

            2. It covers “long lead” items

            3. It is an “advance acquisition contract”

            http://www.defense.gov/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4700

          • Curtis Conway

            If you wish to keep cost down and quality high, defense contractors must do what football teams do every week . . . COMPETE!

  • ELP

    We should see that F-35B motor change on-board ship any day now…. any day now…

  • ELPs

    No working Mission system till date, No rover capability, No Nothing, Just so Fail is going to go down…Let me go grab a bag of chips

    • SpudmanWP

      Oh look, it’s mini-ELP (Eric the Loser Poster)

      1. Block 2A is combat capable and is flying in OT&E, Operational, SDD, and Training Squadrons today. 2A includes all the sensors, MADL, Link16, etc. Very Mission capable.

      2. Block 2B will be released to the fleet soon.

      3. The F-35 is just finishing up it’s first round of live fire weapons verification and have fired live AMRAAMs up to m1.2.

      4. Rover, really? You are going to hang your hat on that?

      5. Even the basic HMDS II is good enough to perform night ops at sea in DT2.

  • TerryTee

    In a new report in Canada they are looking at long term cost of the “Junk Strike Fighter” and depending on who’s figures you use, depending on inflation or deflation ( ya right ), it could cost Canada as much as $71 Billion and their Parliament isn’t going Blindly Along like hear in the U.S.

    http://www.hilltimes.com/news/news/2013/08/29/f-35-purchase-could-cost-canada-$71-billion-under-worst-case-scenario/35778

    http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/147568/worst-case%3A-f_35-could-cost-canada-c%2471bn.html

    • SpudmanWP

      That was a WORST case scenario, not a likely one.

      Keep in mind that the current $45 billion is based on old Logistics estimates. Apply the newly released numbers and it would fall well below $40.