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GE/Rolls-Royce F136 JSF engine in jeopardy

Purse strings in Washington are tighter than they have been in years meaning funds for some defense projects are harder to get.

The Senate has voted for an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that could eventually block the proposed second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: the F136 from General Electric/Rolls-Royce. Aviation Week reports that Congress has earmarked unrequested funds for the F136, but the Senate adopted the amendment on July 23 that would require proof that the F136 engine would cut costs for the program overall. The program currently relies on the F135 engine from Pratt & Whitney.

The amendment was written by Sen. Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut who said, "The Department of Defense has long said that it neither wants nor intends to use an engine other than the one currently produced by Pratt & Whitney."

AviationWeek reports that Lieberman's claims are not entirely accurate. The Pentagon and Air force Leadership have been rejecting calls for the F136 alternative engine, but program leaders for the JSF have stressed that an alternative engine isn’t a bad idea. The bill will have to be amended in the House version if the F136 engine is to continue to be an option. Money for the F136 has been earmarked already in the House's defense appropriations bill.

GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said, "The funding battle over the GE Rolls-Royce F136 fighter engine for the JSF is far from over. The argument for an engine competition for the JSF, the largest fighter program in US history, is simply too compelling."

President Obama has threatened to veto a bill that comes to him promoting a second engine with a chance of disrupting the program. The Senate has already voted against more funds for the F-22 Raptor program.

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RE: What's that sound I hear?
By justniz on 7/27/2009 4:02:41 PM , Rating: 0
Invade America? Wow you really are paranoid.
Do you seriously think any country would or could invade America just because we don't have newer engines in our F35's?

Go find Tucson, AZ in google maps. Look at the literally thousands of old military aircraft, each originally costing 10's of millions, laid-up there gently decomposing and tell me we haven't been wasting money. There are more aircraft just in Tucson than in most other countries airforces put together.

Haven't you yet realised that the US airforce's job is not defence of the US homeland? Its to support invasion/supression in other (mostly middle eastern)countries.

Even without *any* US airforce I couldn't conceive of any country successfully conducting a conventional invasion of the US.

The only real threat to the US mainland is from terrorism, and for an anti-terrorist role it doesn't matter if you have a new F35 or an old F16. They can both shoot a hijacked airliner or cessna out the sky just as quickly. In fact an F16 is probably still better for that job.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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