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Rolls-Royce signs $171 million F-35 STOVL Liftsystem contract


Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has signed a $171 million contract with Pratt & Whitney to supply the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem® for a further 9 Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant F-35B Lightning II aircraft as part of the third lot of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP).

This order is the second production contract for Rolls-Royce as part of its involvement in the JSF programme. The previous contract, for LRIP 2 and signed in December 2008, was for $131m.

The Rolls-Royce LiftSystem comprises a LiftFan, Roll Posts and 3 Bearing Swivel Module. Rolls-Royce will provide these through the propulsion system prime contractor Pratt & Whitney, with module deliveries having already commenced in July 2009 under the Long Lead provision within the contract. The scope of the contract also includes spare hardware, production investment and sustainment planning.

Simon Henley, Director for New Product Introduction at Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace, said:

“This new contract, together with the imminent first flight of the F-35 in STOVL mode, shows the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem programme is now generating real momentum and that Rolls-Royce technology is helping to bring a step change in air combat technology.

“As the LiftSystem programme continues to gain momentum on both sides of the Atlantic we are looking forward to supporting the flight trials with the LiftSystem engaged in the F-35B at the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River”.

Orders for the LiftSystem are expected to total over 600, with leading customers including the US Marine Corps, The UK Armed Forces and the Italian Navy. The F-35B variant is expected to remain in service well after 2050.

Rolls-Royce engineers in Bristol, UK and Indianapolis, US, are involved in design and assembly of the LiftSystem, with component manufacture also taking place at the Hucknall and Bristol sites in the UK.

This production contract follows on from the $1.1bn contract signed with Pratt & Whitney in 2001 to develop the F135 STOVL Propulsion System.


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