NORTH BERWICK – Pratt & Whitney and the U.S. Department of Defense have reached an agreement in principle on a $1 billion production contract for the sixth batch of engines to be used on F-35 Lightning II warplanes.

If finalized, the contract is expected to benefit the company’s North Berwick plant. It would cover 38 total engines, including program management, engineering support, production and spare parts.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reported that the final terms of the contract are to be determined in the coming months.

“This agreement represents a fair deal for government and Pratt & Whitney,” said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, F-35 program executive officer. “Driving down cost is critical to the success of this program and we are working together — in each successive contract — to lower costs for the propulsion system.”

Pratt & Whitney said it will produce the new batch of engines at a cost 2.5 percent lower than its previous batch of 35 engines.

Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, said he is pleased that Pratt & Whitney is moving closer to securing the engine contract.

“This is incredible news for Maine workers in North Berwick,” said Eves. “The jobs provided by the North Berwick facility serve countless families in the area and across the state. North Berwick is proud to have Pratt & Whitney and its workers in our community.”

Pratt & Whitney has an 877,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in North Berwick.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@pressherald.com