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JSF Second Engine Fighting For Its Life

by: Matthew Potter
June 1, 2009

Category: Business Line, Companies, Congress, Contract Awards, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Federal Budget Process, GE, Military Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, Restructuring, Rolls-Royce, Services, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, UTC | RSS 2.0

One of the programs cut by Secretary of Defense Gates’ in his proposed budget is the second source for the F-35 engine. This has been a controversial program since its inception. Now with the plan to end the program Rolls Royce and General Electric are arguing it is cheaper and more sensible to continue the program.

The Air Force and Navy have always been ambivalent about the program but Congress has kept it funded. The fact that Congress cuts aircraft production to find the funding has raised the hackles of some people. Now that the Defense Department has decided to end the program the contractors, and their allies in Congress, are arguing that most of the planned money has been spent and the program should at least complete development.

Of course if the engine did go into production and was used to power some of the JSF aircraft to be used by America and its allies the amount of revenue available to GE and Rolls Royce as well as Pratt & Whitney who make the primary engine would be quite substantial. The second source providers say that the bulk of the $3.5 billion allocated to the program has been spent so rather then terminating the program at some cost just complete it.

As with all of these programs recommended for termination it will be Congress who will have the last say in the budget. But since Gates moved quickly to halt the contracts for FCS and VH-71 it wouldn’t surprise me to see a stop work order on this one as well.

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