Rolls-Royce’s production facilities in Plainfield will handle the bulk of the work for three contracts totaling up to $442 million to make and maintain lift-fan systems for the F-35B Lighting II joint strike fighter aircraft.
The British engine-maker announced the contracts on Monday. It is the only company in the world that makes vertical lift technology for fighter aircraft.
In Plainfield, Rolls manufactures parts and completes final assembly of the lift-fan system, which allows the F-35B stealth fighter to hover and to land vertically. Rolls said that the new contracts cover initial production of 17 lift systems for the F-35B, plus support after they have been built.
Rolls will be a subcontractor for Pratt & Whitney, which builds the engine for the jet.
The F-35B program is considered the most expensive defense-related project in history, with an estimated $1.5 trillion cost over the its expected 55-year lifetime. Rolls said Monday that it is working on more than 150 different initiatives to reduce the cost of the jet.