The F136 engine-maker team of General Electric and Rolls-Royce announced Monday that it had successfully hit afterburner with its third production-configuration F136, reaching all major objectives in this phase of testing. The F136 team expects to test six engines in 2010, moving toward flight test. Al DiLibero, president of the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team, said, “We are marching along in development, making progress every day, and achieving full afterburner on our newest engine demonstrates the capability and success of the F136 team.” The Pentagon, however, remains firm in its stand that it no longer desires an alternate engine for the F-35 strike fighter. Despite continued Congressional interest in sustaining the F136 program, Defense Secretary Bob Gates said he would recommend a veto if lawmakers include it in the 2011 defense budget legislation.
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.