Vice Adm. David Venlet, F-35 program executive officer, has denied comments that House defense overseers attributed to him in a letter they drafted last month in support of the General Electric-Rolls Royce F136 engine. That missive “does not correctly convey” Venlet’s remarks to House members on the topic of F-35 engine competition, a Defense Department spokesman told the Daily Report. The House members made it seem as if Venlet supported keeping the F136 program alive. Not so, said the spokesman. Instead, Venlet supports Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ position to kill the F136. “[Venlet] agrees with the analysis that spending more money on an additional engine diverts limited modernization funds from other important defense priorities,” said the spokesman. Gates wants to proceed with only Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine for the F-35. (See also DOD Buzz report)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.