Matthew Bromberg, president, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, participated in a House Armed Services Committee (HASC) joint Readiness & Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee hearing on November 13 regarding the F-35 program. The hearing, which occurred at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., consisted of two panels of witnesses – the first panel featured Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Lt. Gen. Eric Fick, F-35 Program Executive Officer, Robert Behler, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, and Diana Maurer, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management – U.S Government Accountability Office. The second panel featured Bromberg and Greg Ulmer, Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Program at Lockheed Martin.
During his testimony, Bromberg provided an update on the production, sustainment and modernization of Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine, which powers all three variants of the 5th generation F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. To view a recording of the hearing, click here.
Chairman Garamendi, Chairman Norcross, Ranking Member Lamborn, Ranking Member Hartzler, and distinguished members of the House Armed Services Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to share Pratt & Whitney’s role in the production and sustainment of the F135, the propulsion system for the Joint Strike Fighter. Also, thanks for the constant Congressional support of this program. I also want to acknowledge Under Secretary Lord, Lieutenant General Fick, and Lockheed Martin for their partnership.
A Legacy of Dependable Engines
From the 369,000 Wasp engines produced in World War II, to the nearly 200 F135 engines we’ll deliver in 2020, every Pratt & Whitney engine bears a seal that proclaims two words: Dependable Engines. Our focus today and tomorrow remains squarely on supporting the warfighter, and doing so in a manner that safeguards the American taxpayer.
The F135 Today
The F135 propulsion system is the world’s most powerful and advanced operational fighter engine. The F135, developed with our international partners, provides unmatched performance, safety, reliability, and affordability -- all of which contribute to the National Defense Strategy.
Production and affordability are top priorities. To date, we have produced more than 500 F135 engines. And in 2019, we’re on track to produce our contracted engines, doubling our output over the past two years. In 2020, we aim to achieve a production rate of approximately 200 engines and modules per year, which will remain steady for the program of record. We are also investing in surge capacity to support increases in production and sustainment.
Through a jointly funded War on Cost, Pratt & Whitney has reduced the average production cost of the F135 by 50 percent. While we are pleased with our progress to date, we recognize the imperative to do more. Looking forward, we have the opportunity to invest in longer-term cost reduction projects such as developing alternative suppliers, and leveraging advanced manufacturing technologies in digital, automation and additive. These activities require long-term vision and consistent funding.
With a worldwide fleet of more than 500 F135 engines, Pratt & Whitney is driving towards world-class sustainment. As the fleet grows, we are committed to reducing sustainment costs by 50 percent. The most important factor is reliability. Fortunately, the F135 has consistently exceeded 94 percent mission capability.
Pratt & Whitney drives high mission capability through advanced digital analytics, prognostics, and health monitoring. In addition, the Component Improvement Program is a critical funding priority to maintain levels of reliability and low cost sustainment.
Effective sustainment requires collaboration between the U.S. Government and Pratt & Whitney. We have a strong history of public-private partnerships and working across government agencies.
Sustainment is a core competency. We support more than 100,000 engines around the world between our commercial and military franchises. And we’re committed to sustaining the F135.
With development of the baseline Joint Strike Fighter program complete, focus is now on modernization. It’s important to assure that the growth in aircraft capability is matched with propulsion growth. Fortunately, the F135 has ample design margin to permit agile upgrades. We are again working closely with the Joint Program Office to develop a propulsion upgrade roadmap.
In conclusion, the F135 is an integral part of the National Defense Strategy. The F135’s unique capabilities of power and stealth provide the warfighter with vital advantages. The F135 supports more than 33,000 high technology jobs across 31 states. We remain laser-focused on meeting our commitments: production, cost, readiness, lifecycle affordability, and propulsion growth. We are committed to delivering the most capable engine to the warfighter, while providing the best value to the taxpayer.
Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before your subcommittees. I look forward to your questions.