Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has awarded the United Technologies subsidiary Pratt & Whitney Military Engines a $399.8 million contract for the F-35's F135 engine for both domestic and foreign partners on the program.
The contract modification applies to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, domestic contractors, partner nations and Foreign Military Sales.
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is a fifth generation multi-role stealth platform expected to replace most of the U.S. military's fighter fleets and operate in support of other aircraft.
Over 320 aircraft have been delivered to the U.S. and partner nations, with the planned buys expected to boost that number by hundreds over the next several years..
Long-term production plans call for several thousand planes to be built for the U.S. military and approved foreign buyers.
The Air Force's F-35A and Marine Corps' vertical takeoff and landing F-35B have already reached initial operational capability, with several U.S. squadrons deployed on the USS Wasp and USS Essex amphibious assault carriers, Japan and the Middle East. The F-35 Joint Program Office has said the deployed F-35's are ready for combat.
The Navy F-35C, designed for large Nimitz-class and Ford-class fleet carriers, is expected to become fully operational sometime next year, according to JPO.