Air Force awards General Electric $1.6B F-15EX engine deal

By Courtney Albon / October 29, 2021 at 6:51 PM

The Air Force today awarded General Electric a $1.6 billion contract to provide its F110 engine for the F-15EX.

The contract includes an initial 29 engines with options for up to 329. GE's offering was chosen over Pratt & Whitney's F100 engine, a newer variant of the propulsion system that powered the legacy F-15 and F-15E.

"We are honored to help the U.S. Air Force open a new chapter by providing reliable F110 power for the F-15EX," Shawn Warren, GE's vice president and general manager of combat and trainer engines, said in a press release. "The F110 production line is active today and ready to deliver on the U.S. Air Force's urgent and compelling requirement for an F-15EX propulsion system."

The Air Force awarded GE an initial sole-source contract in 2020 for the first lot of F-15EX engines -- which the company supplies for the F-15 Silent Eagle -- and had intended to expand the contracting strategy across the fleet. However, Pratt protested the decision, and the service opted to stage a competition.

GE's F110 is already flying on the first two F-15EX aircraft, which were delivered to the service earlier this year.

In a press release tonight, the Air Force said the engine competition "further reduced production costs," but didn't offer details on the reduction. The service's Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Gen. Dale White said in the release that the decision supports the program's focus on rapid delivery.

"I am laser-focused on rapid delivery of this new aircraft to our warfighters," White said. "Not only will it reduce sustainment costs and drive down risks as it replaces our aging F-15C/D fleet, it will also deliver new capabilities that complement the existing and future [tactical aircraft] portfolio."

The Boeing-made F-15EX this week completed its first slate of operational testing at Nellis Air Force Base, NV, and expects to complete developmental test next year.