Pratt’s F117 Tied to Boeing C-17 Program’s Fate

NEWTOWN, Conn. — With production of Boeing’s 757 ending in 2005, the [only remaining] application for Pratt & Whitney’s PW2000/F117 is the Boeing C-17 Globemaster tactical transport.

Boeing’s best customer for the C-17 is the USAF, which has capped procurement at 223 aircraft in the face of a very restricted budget. As a response to this move, Boeing has reduced the C-17’s build rates in an effort to stretch out production while looking for new orders.

Boeing has been aggressively marketing the C-17 to foreign air forces that can afford it, but the $220 million unit cost is limiting the potential market. A contract was signed between Boeing and the Indian Air Force for a purchase of 10 C-17s, with a possible six options. This represents the largest export order for the aircraft to date. Other potential prospects include Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

In an effort to broaden the C-17’s market appeal, Boeing proposed a new version called the C-17FE. It is essentially a 1.2-meter-narrower version of the existing aircraft with enhanced use of composites to lighten the structure.

Boeing’s intent is to offer the new aircraft for the Joint Future Theater Lift program of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army. It is assumed the thrust requirement will be similar, and the F117 engine would carry over to the new variant.

The JFTL program is not expected to field an aircraft until the 2020-2025 timeframe.

Source: Forecast International

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