At least one news report quotes an anonymous source saying DOD plans to curtail development of a second F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine to save money in the Fiscal 2007 budget. The General Electric and Rolls Royce Fighter Engine Team received a long-term production contract on its JSF alternate engine, the F136, earlier this year. Rolls Royce spokesman George McLaren tells us that it would be “inappropriate to comment or speculate” on the upcoming budget. McLaren adds, though, that Congress has strongly supported the F136 development program and “recognizes the far-reaching benefits of having competing engines on the single-engine Joint Strike Fighter.” He notes, too, that the GE-Rolls Royce team already has achieved significant success with its F136 and looks forward to returning the F136 short takeoff and vertical landing development engine to test in February.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.