19 February 2011

House Votes to Kill F136 Engine

While I expect to see some continued efforts by GE, Rolls Royce, and their supporters, I think that this is the death knell for the F136 engine:
The U.S. House of Representatives today voted to kill funding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter backup engine made by General Electric Co. and Rolls Royce Group Plc.

By a vote of 233-198, the House voted to cut $450 million for the engine from legislation funding the Pentagon for the remainder of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

It is the first time in more than four years of votes that the House has come out against the GE-Rolls Royce engine for the F-35, the stealth fighter made by Lockheed Martin Corp. In May, 2010, the House voted 231-193 to continue the program.
This is important for a number of reasons.

First, with this defeat on the table, the onus now falls on the supporter of the F136 to bring the engine back, which is hard.

Second, and more importantly, House Speaker John Boehner, whose district, and neighboring districts, directly benefit from the engine, could not whip the votes necessary to support the engine.

Like I said, the engine is toast.

In the long run, this is a bad thing, because leaving Pratt & Whitney as a monopoly supplier for the engine is likely to increase costs, and reduce performance, a lot down the road.

That being said, I do experience no small amount of amusement because Boehner got seriously served on this.


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