The Engine Wars, Again

Take note, Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has raised the red flag over the Pentagon’s action to once again cancel the second Joint Strike Fighter engine. At this week’s hearing on the DOD budget, Warner said that the committee—when he was chairman—worked “very hard” on the JSF program to give it “adequate funding.” He asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates why would the Pentagon go back to a single engine, “in effect, giving a sole-source contract to one contractor which could amount to $100 billion,” noting that was the “reverse [of] what Congress has asked you to do.” DOD comptroller Tina Jonas replied that the department “continues to evaluate the need for a second engine,” but believes that it could save “about $1.8 billion” by having only one engine. Warner maintained that he wants Gates to review the situation because “this committee invested a lot of time in it.” He noted, too, that some of the JSF partner countries “want to use other than the one engine.”