Pratt & Whitney to remain sole source for F-35 jet engine upgrades

Stamford Advocate

By: Luther Turmelle

December 5, 2023

Pentagon officials announced this week that East Hartford-based Pratt & Whitney will remain the sole source for upgrades of the F-35 jet engine.

U.S. Reps. John Larson, D-1, Joe Courtney, D-2 and Rosa DeLauro, D-3, jointly announced the Pentagon's decision. Prior to the announcement, Pratt & Whitney was awarded a $66 million contract in July to support engine modernization efforts.

That contract was made possible through the efforts of Courtney and DeLauro, who are ranking members of the Appropriations Committee and Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which is responsible for overseeing defense appropriations. Funding for the upgrades was included in President Joe Biden's budget for fiscal 2024, which was submitted in March, Pratt, which is a subsidiary of aerospace giant RTX Corp., has its headquarters in Larson's district.

Larson said the Pentagon's decision to source the engine upgrades with Pratt left him feeling "both gratified and proud."

"This is the right decision for our warfighter, partner nations across the globe, and for American taxpayers,” said Larson in a written statement. “The Pratt & Whitney F135 engine is the most advanced, reliable, and capable production fighter engine the world has ever known. Today’s announcement will save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars over the life of the program and protect thousands of manufacturing jobs in our state."

Courtney said when the Defense Department submitted its budget request for fiscal year 2024, "the decision was crystal clear – upgrading the existing F135 engine is the most efficient and cost-effective strategy to deliver increased capability for our service members and international program partners in the F-35 enterprise.

"This award by the Department of Defense validates the critical importance that the employees of Pratt & Whitney deliver to the warfighter," Courtney said. "As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I look forward to ensuring this modernization program stays on track and will continue to advocate for additional resources needed in years to come."

DeLauro called Pratt "one of the foremost leaders in advanced technology and defense manufacturing."

"The company also employs more than 11,126 people in East Hartford and Middletown and is core to our state’s economy," she said. "This contract will support good paying, union jobs across our state, and I am proud to have advocated for it."

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