Alcoa has secured a 10-year, $1.1-billion supply agreement with Pratt & Whitney concerning critical components for the PurePower geared turbofan jet engines. The new deal underscores Alcoa’s recent efforts to emphasize its capabilities as a supplier of high-value aerospace materials and products — including buying Firth Rixson Ltd. — and recalls a similar long-term deal that Alcoa struck with Airbus SAS to supply titanium and aluminum aerospace forgings.

Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies subsidiary. Its deal with Alcoa was completed at the ongoing Farnborough Air Show in England, the global aerospace trade expo.

Alcoa noted that the new supply deal will see it produce and supply for the world’s first aluminum fan blade for jet engines. It’s a forging design that was developed for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engines using an advanced aluminum alloy and a proprietary manufacturing process.

In addition, Alcoa announced it is developing a fan blade forging for the PurePower engines using an advanced aluminum-lithium alloy.

“We’re going where no materials scientist has gone before,” according to Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. “Combining Alcoa’s proprietary alloys and unique manufacturing processes with Pratt & Whitney’s design, we cracked the code on forging an aluminum fan blade that is lighter and enables better fuel efficiency.

Kleinfeld noted that in addition to the fan blade forgings Alcoa will deliver products in other forms, including blades and vanes to structural castings, for some of Pratt and Whitney’s best-selling engines.”

Aluminum and aluminum-lithium alloys from Alcoa plants in Pittsburgh and Lafayette, IN, will be used to form the front fan blades, using proprietary forging processes at Alcoa’s Cleveland plant. Other Alcoa plants including La Porte, Ind.; Whitehall, Mich.; Dover, NJ; and Wichita Falls, TX will supply blades, vanes, and structural components in nickel-based superalloys, titanium, and aluminum.

In recent weeks, Alcoa has announced expansion programs totaling more than $125 million for two investment casting operations, specifically to produce engine and structural castings for commercial aerospace programs.