Bennett Croswell Speaks at F117 Final Engine Delivery Ceremony
Pratt & Whitney will deliver the final production F117 engine to the U.S. Air Force for its C-17 Globemaster III fleet later this month. A ceremony commemorating delivery of 1,313 production engines was held today at Pratt & Whitney's engine center in Middletown, Connecticut, and included representatives from the U.S. Air Force and Boeing. Bennett Croswell, president of Military Engines at Pratt & Whitney, was among the speakers at the event.
I'd like to thank everyone for coming today and to extend a special welcome to our government officials and their representatives for taking the time to be with us for this special ceremony. I'd also like to recognize our partners from Boeing who are with us here today led by Geoff Wilson and Marta Shaper. Many thanks for joining us!
I know the Boeing team held a similar event to this last November when the final C-17 flew away from the Long Beach facility. I think we all know how you and your fellow Boeing teammates must have felt marking the official end of C-17 aircraft production. There is a great sense of fulfillment and yes too, a sense of sadness. Because it really is bittersweet to be handing over the final F117 engine today.
This is as successful and important a program as we've ever had here at Military Engines from both a production and a sustainment perspective. And, all of the Pratt & Whitney team that has supported this program should feel very proud. As Bev said, since 1993 the men and women of Pratt & Whitney have produced 1,313 F117 engines to power a truly transformational strategic airlifter in the C-17. This is no ordinary aircraft and this is no ordinary power plant. The C-17 can operate in places you wouldn't think a 277,000 pound airplane could land or take off. Nowhere has this tremendous capability been more important than in the hot, high altitude environments of Iraq and Afghanistan. The unique combination of the C-17 airframe and our F117 engine allows the aircraft to take off on short runways and get quickly out of hostile environments — even when carrying 165,000 pounds of passengers, material, and precious cargo. That has enabled the C-17 to be used not only as a strategic airlifter, but also on short run tactical missions. This allowed our services to get convoys off the road to avoid the great risk of IEDs. And I know you all take great pride in the fact the C-17 serves as a flying Intensive Care Unit for wounded service men and women who needed to quickly make their way back to Landstuhl in Germany or stateside to Walter Reed, or Brooks Army Medical Center for lifesaving medical care.
So our F117 continues to play a critical role in the military's mission to bring personnel and supplies in and out of war zones. But this great aircraft is so much more than that. When fires, floods, earthquakes and other disasters leave the people of the world in need, the C-17 delivers vital humanitarian aid to lift people up and get them back on their feet. That is the reason that one of the most common sights at the scene of disaster relief is the T-tail of the C-17.
From a program perspective, one of the key aspects of the F117 engine is that its configuration is nearly identical to that of the PW2000 commercial engine that powers another Boeing product, the 757. That fact allowed our Air Force customer to enjoy the benefits of a top performing engine without having to pay the cost to develop it. And over the years, as we have funded improvements to the engine to support our commercial customers, the military has also benefitted from those improvements. We've combined that with a unique and award winning support program that we have executed in partnership with the Air Force and Boeing. That program rewards and incentivizes Pratt & Whitney for keeping engines in the air rather than in maintenance. The result has been significantly reduced F117 shop visits that have saved the taxpayer billions of dollars. And extraordinarily high readiness levels, even in the up-tempo geopolitical environment of the last decade. So while we are disappointed today to see F117 production come to an end, we look forward with a laser focus to continuing our strong support toward the sustainment of the engine in the future.
In closing, let me just say that for 91 years, the people of Pratt & Whitney have dedicated themselves to delivering products and services that live up to the words on our logo – Dependable Engines. With that as our continued goal for the F117 engine, we will be able to do our part to enable what Gen Moeller said about the C-17 in that great video: "It's always there."
To all of you who have produced and supported this program, I can't thank you enough for the enthusiasm, rigor, and inventiveness that each of you have brought to the F117 engine each and every day. Some of you have spent your entire careers working on the PW2000 and the F117. Through your dedication, hard work and talent, you have made a tremendous contribution to Pratt & Whitney and to our US Air Force customer. Congratulations on all that you have accomplished.