Sections

ideals
Business Essentials for Professionals



Core common components between the F-35 and the B-21 leads to savings


03/11/2016

As per the Air Force General running the F-35 fighter jet program commonality between the F-135 engine with that of the B-21 bomber is likely to lead to cost reductions.



While commenting on the selection of Pratt & Whitney to build Northrop Grumman Corp’s engines for the long range B-21 bomber, a top Air Force general said the deal should help the company lower the costs for the F135 engine of the F-35 fighter jets.
 
Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who runs the $391 billion F-35 program, said that any commonality between the engines, and greater engine production could help drive down costs on both programs.
 
"I would expect that Pratt’s prices on the F135 ought to come down as a result of the work they’re going to be doing on the long-range strike (bomber)," said Bogdan. 
 
He went on to add that this commonality could lead to an increase in F135 engine cores, which could lead to price reductions later.
 
"There's spillover things that happen if you have two engines that are common. There's another source of investment to improve engine manufacturing now,” said Bogdan.
 
While stating he knew little regarding the classified B-21 bomber program, he did not explicitly confirm that the F135 engine cores will be used for the new bomber.
 
Matthew Bates, Pratt & Whitney’s spokesman also declined comment on whether the new bomber would use the F136 engine cores. He however did say that with every contract, Pratt & Whitney has lowered the cost of the F135 engines. The company remains committed to further reductions.
 
By the end of this month, Bogdan said he hoped to finalize a preliminary agreement with Pratt & Whitney for 167 F135 engines in two contracts with a combined value of $3 billion. Last month Bogdan had stated that the cost of those engines will drop by 3%-4% in each contract.
 
Furthermore, in principle, the program also aims to have an agreement with Lockheed for a 9th batch of F-35 fighter jets by the end of March followed by another batch in the subsequent month. The combined value of the airframe deals are worth $16 billion.
 
With a continuous cost reduction and faced with software challenges in the F-35’s automated logistics systems even if the August 1 deadline were to be extended by a month or two, it wouldn’t hurt the USAF, said Bogdan.