Pentagon contract results in long-term work for Tinker Air Force Base

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From the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development comes word of a nearly $870 million government contract won by Pratt & Whitney that will not only extend the power life of the Air Force’s B-52H Stratofortress and E-3 Sentry aircraft, but also result in much more work at Tinker Air Force Base.

The Pentagon announced the engine make won the sole-source contract worth to sustain the life of the Cold War-era TF33 engines that are used in both types of aircraft.

The Defense Logistics Agency’s base contract with the company is for six years, with an optional four-year extension, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The initial award value of the firm-fixed-price and cost-type contract is $40.7 million, which the company would cover the first two years.

The contract also has a six-month transition period. If the Pentagon exercises all options with Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of RTX Corp., work would be completed in April 2034.

With the Air Force moving to retire its remaining E-3 airborne warning and control system, or AWACS, aircraft and replace the B-52′s six-decade-old engines with a new propulsion system from Rolls-Royce, the contract could cover sustainment for the rest of the TF33′s life.

Pratt & Whitney will sustain nearly 1,000 TF33 engines under this contract, including providing maintenance, spare parts, program management, field service, repairs, and engineering support, it said in a statement. Work will take place at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma and other Air Force locations, as well as Pratt & Whitney’s Atlanta-based Southern Logistics Center.

One of the most pressing concerns has been keeping the supply of spare parts for the aging engines flowing, Cooper said. The TF33 relied on “mom and pop-type suppliers” making niche parts in low volume, some of whom have gone out of business over the years, she said.

This contract provides funding for Pratt & Whitney to make those hard-to-find parts itself, or find new companies that can fabricate them, she said.

Source: Office of Workforce Development