New program management and engine order for F-35

Brian Chappel has been appointed vice president and program manager for the Northrop Grumman Corp. F-35 Lightning II program. Northrop Grumman is principal partner to Lockheed Martin on the F-35.

Chappel will be responsible for directing and overseeing cost, schedule, technical matters, quality and customer satisfaction for the production of the aircraft's center fuselage.

Most recently, Chappel was vice president of Business Management and chief financial officer for the company's Advanced Development Programs business unit. Since joining the company from the U.S. Air Force in 1993, Chappel has served in leadership positions for such functions as business development, proposals, contracts, pricing and program business operations. He also has held several leadership positions on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System program.

Chappel earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from PennsylvaniaState University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Engine order

In related news, the Department of Defense and Pratt & Whitney have reached an agreement in principle for a production contract for the sixth lot of F135 propulsion systems to power the F-35 Lightning II. The low rate initial production (LRIP) contract covers 38 total engines.

Cost details will be released when the LRIP 6 contract is finalized; however, in general, the unit prices for the 32 common configuration engines, which are used to power both the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft and the aircraft-carrier variant, reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 2.5 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for 35 engines,” Pratt & Whitney said in a press release. “The unit prices for the six short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft engines reduced in LRIP 6 by roughly 9.6 percent compared to the previous LRIP 5 contract for three STOVL engines.”

"Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 Program Executive Officer.

The 38 total engines in the sixth lot contract include 36 install engines and two CTOL whole spare engines. The new contract will also include the first propulsion systems for Italy and Australia.

To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 107 production engines. Deliveries of LRIP 6 engines will begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The F135 engine has powered 3,548 flights and 5,432 flight test hours, with 27,243 development and flight test hours completed. The F-35B STOVL aircraft have accomplished more than 600 vertical landings.

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