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Further development has been approved... for now

The F-35 Lighting II fighter jet will see further development of the F136 engine manufactured by GE/Rolls-Royce, as Pratt & Whitney has received criticism for its F135 development issues.

Although it seemed like the matter was temporarily laid to rest, the House Armed Services Committee recently set aside additional funding in the 2011 budget for a second Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) engine.  Some military officials and politicians have stepped forward to welcome the possibility of a secondary engine, noting it won't cost the government any more if a different alternative is developed.

"Given the enormity of the JSF program, competing engines on the aircraft is the best way to put the acquisition reform act into action," said David Joyce, GE Aviation CEO.  "With the growing concern over cost overruns in defense programs, competition continues to be the best cost-control mechanism."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes President Barack Obama will veto any proposed defense authorizations related to funding the GE/Rolls-Royce engine.  Furthermore, when Obama asks Gates and other senior military officials, they're prepared to eliminate any chances of additional funding for the GE/Rolls-Royce engine development.

The U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps have had difficulties with the JSF -- along with the federal government -- as delays, budget issues, and other problems continue to arise.  Gates and other military officials have said the JSF will be the future of the U.S. military's warplane arsenal, which is why it is still so widely supported.

Despite the funding available now, Gates has warned Congress that the military budget must be kept in check moving forward.





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