Backing F136

The full House Armed Services Committee in its markup of the 2011 defense authorization bill Wednesday provided funding to continue development of the General Electric-Rolls Royce F136 engine, the so-called alternate engine for the F-35 strike fighter. Despite the threat by Pentagon chief Bob Gates to urge President Obama to veto the defense bill if it continues F136 support, the full committee followed its air and land panel recommendation. Panel chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said Wednesday, “The subcommittee remains concerned that the Pentagon believes a sole source contract for the engine for this aircraft is appropriate even though the Pentagon’s own study on F-35 engine options indicated it would cost no more to reduce operational risk and achieve the benefits of a competitive engine program, than to fund a sole source engine program.” Pratt & Whitney is providing the F135 engine for the F-35 program. (Smith’s remarks)