Well, it looks like backers of GE-Rolls Royce’s F136 alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter may have more ammo to renew their campaign to get the Pentagon to buy the engine amidst news that Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine’s “cost performance” does not make Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer happy.
Apparently, Carter told House lawmakers yesterday that he isn’t happy with cost growth he sees in both the F135 engine and the overall F-35 program. This comes after the Pentagon restructured the F-35 program and cut all cash for the F136 engine. The DoD has long wanted to kill the F136, claiming that short term development costs are too high to justify the long-term savings generated by having a second engine. GE-Rolls and their allies on Capitol Hill claim the competition between the F135 and F136 will ensure higher-quality engines and keep prices down.
Pratt officials insist their engine is on plan to meet the DoD’s cost and delivery requirements.
It looks like this is the beginning of a new round of fighting to keep the second engine alive, with several lawmakers jumping back into the fray, including House Armed Services Committee Chairman, Buck McKeon, R-Calif. According to Politico, McKeon wants to make sure that “competition remains in the Joint Strike Fighter program.”