Rolls-Royce has been awarded three contracts totalling up to $442m (£290m) to produce and support LiftSystems for F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
The new contracts cover Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of 17 LiftSystems for F-35B aircraft, plus support, for two contract periods (LRIP 7-8), and were agreed between Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, the propulsion provider for the F-35 program.
The LRIP 8 contract reflects a reduction in average price per LiftSystem since LRIP 6, as Rolls-Royce continues to demonstrate success in cost reduction efforts for the F-35 Lightning II program.
LRIP7 also includes delivery of the 50th LiftFan for installation in an F-35B, as the LiftSystem continues to mature in production. The 50th LiftFan meets all Initial Operational Capability (IOC) requirements for the US Marine Corps.
Rolls-Royce has been attacking cost through 150 affordability initiatives internally and throughout the supply chain. Despite the impacts on the program of the probation period, Rolls-Royce says it is on track to meet the mature cost target and has invested more than $85 million to support the F-35 program in recent years.
John Gallo, Rolls-Royce, president defense programs, said, “Rolls-Royce remains committed to reducing LiftSystem costs to meet affordability requirements for the F-35 Lightning II program. Through more than 150 affordability initiatives, we are focused on innovation and delivering cost reduction to the program and the operators.”
The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem is comprised of a LiftFan, 3-Bearing Swivel Module, a roll post under each wing, and a shaft connected to the aircraft’s F135 engine.
F-35 pilots say the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem has proven to be extremely stable and dependable in flight, with superior aircraft software controls making it easy to operate.
Rolls-Royce is the only company in the world that produces vertical lift technology for fighter aircraft, and has led the aerospace industry in Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) technology since 1954, when the company first tested the “Flying Bedstead” technology demonstrator.
Rolls-Royce also continues to expand support for the F-35 program, with field service representatives collaborating with aircraft maintainers at military bases across the US, and a new interim depot facility under development at Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis to provide repair services.
The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem was recently recognized as a finalist for the MacRobert Award in the UK, the premier award for innovation in engineering, given by the Royal Academy of Engineering.