AIRSHOW-UPDATE 2-Pratt sees deal for F-35 engines in next 30 days

Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:29pm EDT
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* Pratt sees savings of less than 10 pct on next F-35 engine

* F-35 engine sales seen exceeding $2 bln a year by 2018

By Andrea Shalal-Esa

PARIS, June 16 (Reuters) - Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, expects to reach an agreement with the Pentagon within the next 30 days on a contract for engines to power a sixth batch of F-35 fighter jets, Pratt President David Hess told Reuters.

Hess said negotiations were still under way with the U.S. Department of Defense but he expected the final price of the contract to reflect a cost reduction of less than 10 percent, continuing a trend seen in recent years. Pratt says the cost of the engine has declined 40 percent since the program began in 2001.

"We're making progress there. We've gotten an offer from the (Joint Program Office) and I expect we'll get that closed pretty quickly ... certainly within 30 days," Hess told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Paris air show.

Hess declined to give details on the projected value of the contract, which analysts expect will exceed $1 billion.

The company, which is the sole producer of engines for the single-seat F-35 fighter jet, which is built by Lockheed Martin Corp, finalized a $1 billion deal with the Pentagon in May for a fifth batch of 35 F135 engines.

The sixth engine contract currently being negotiated includes 39 engines, according to Pratt & Whitney.   Continued...