General Electric and Rolls Royce announced Thursday that they will “bear all costs for continued development” of the F136 engine for the F-35 strike fighter through the end of Fiscal 2012. “We believe so strongly in our engine and the need for competition in defense procurement that we have committed to self-fund F136 development costs for this fiscal year and next,” said GE CEO Jeff Immelt in the companies’ joint statement. Previously they had committed to funding the engine’s development on their own dime through the end of this fiscal year. GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy told the Daily Report Thursday that the two companies estimate spending “more than $100 million” to keep F136 engine work going through the end of next fiscal year. “The [engine’s] development program is being stretched out, especially given that the [F-35] aircraft program is also moving to the right,” he said. “The objective is to develop the engine at a pace to be ready to compete in 2016.” Continue
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.