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Pratt Floats Multiyear F135 Deal

The head of Pratt & Whitney's military engine division says the best way for Congress and the Defense Department to save significant program dollars and to make the company perform the way they want it to is to consider a multi-year logistics deal.

In a wide-ranging discussion of the company's intense battle with General Electric and Rolls Royce over the need for a second Joint Strike Fighter engine, Warren Boley told DoD Buzz the best way to build incentives into the program would be a performance-based logistics contract.

Today, the Pentagon issues support contracts for each low rate initial production lot, he said

"The great engines war was to the 20th century what performance-based logistics are to the 21st century. Have Pratt commit in a contract to levels of readiness that have financial incentives and disincentives to drive behavior," Boley said. "You can do that inside a contract. You don't have to develop an alternate engine. There are much more precise and cost-effective solutions to get the performance you want."

Congress has repeatedly funded the GE/RR alternate engine, arguing that the F-16 engine wars proved that competition meant the taxpayer and the military got engines that performed better and cost less.

"There are more elegant solutions to lock in the behavior you want than the second great engine war," the Pratt executive said.

Boley said he met with senior congressional aides from the House Armed Services Committee last week and pressed Pratt's case.  telling them "about the true return on investment, the true price targets." Those discussions, he believed, were "eye-opening to them."

In remarks directed right at the congressional aides who have championed the alternative engine program, Boley said a PBL contract would work better: "If you still are concerned about performance and attitude and arrogance -- caveat emptor-- there are more effective ways to address that....Use those kinds of solutions, which are the price of a well-written contract, versus the price of developing an alternate engine. America will save billions of dollars."

The elements of a PBL will be presented to Pentagon in the "next few months," he said.

[Full disclosure: Pratt flew us to Hartford and paid for our hotel.]

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