June 16, 2013 / 12:05 PM / 4 years ago

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

PARIS (Reuters) - Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), expects to reach 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. Defense Department but he expected the contract’s final price to reflect a further cost reduction of less than 10 percent, continuing a trend seen in recent years.

“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.

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

Hess said F-35 engine sales would account for over 50 percent of the company’s military engine revenues in coming years, when production ramps up. Last year, he said, military engine revenues accounted for about $4 billion of Pratt’s total revenues.

Hess said the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is being developed by Lockheed for three U.S. military services and eight partner countries, was making good progress after several major restructurings in recent years.

He said potential orders from Singapore and South Korea would help expand production in coming years.

Both of those competitions looked promising, Hess said.

He said he was also confident that Canada would decide to stick with the F-35 program despite its recent discussions about having a new competition.

If the orders did go to another company, Pratt & Whitney could decide to move some of the industrial base work it is currently doing in Canada, Hess said.

“We might reallocate the work elsewhere,” he said, adding that reduced order volumes would likely trigger changes in Canada.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; editing by Jason Neely

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