The U.S. Air Force has decided not to develop a new engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, opting instead to stick with Pratt & Whitney as the sole contractor for the plane’s engine. The decision was made after a review by the Air Force concluded that developing a new engine would be too expensive and could delay the delivery of the F-35s.
The F-35 is currently powered by Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine, which has been in use since 2011. The Air Force’s decision means that Pratt & Whitney will continue to be the only supplier of engines for the F-35, a move that could be worth billions of dollars to the company.
The Air Force had been considering developing a new engine as part of its efforts to modernize the F-35 fleet. The engine would have been designed to increase the aircraft’s performance, reduce fuel consumption, and extend its range. However, the review concluded that developing a new engine would be too expensive and could delay the delivery of the F-35s.
Pratt & Whitney has welcomed the decision, saying that it is committed to working with the Air Force to ensure that the F-35 remains a world-class fighter. The company has invested heavily in the development of the F135 engine and has made significant improvements to the engine’s performance in recent years.
The decision to stick with Pratt & Whitney as the sole contractor for the F-35 engine is likely to be controversial, with some critics arguing that it could stifle competition and innovation. However, the Air Force has said that it will continue to monitor developments in engine technology and will consider new options in the future if they offer significant improvements over the F135.
The F-35 program has been beset by delays and cost overruns, with some critics arguing that the plane is too expensive and that its performance is not worth the price tag. However, the Air Force has defended the F-35, saying that it is a vital component of the country’s national security and that it offers significant advantages over other fighter planes. The decision to stick with Pratt & Whitney as the sole contractor for the F-35 engine is likely to be seen as a vote of confidence in the program.