The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee added no funds to preserve a controversial second engine program for the F-35 fighter jet in its version of the 2011 defense spending bill, a panel member said.
The alternate engine is being built by a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Rolls-Royce Group Plc.
Without competition, United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) would have a decades-long monopoly on the projected $100 billion engine market for the more than 3,000 F-35s due to be bought by the United States and partner countries.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, in a statement on the committee’s bill adopted on Thursday, said the decision not to fund the alternate engine was a victory for U.S. taxpayers. Sen. Carl Levin, the panel chairman and a second engine backer, is to hold a press conference on Friday to discuss the bill.
Levin is on record as saying that, as a tactical matter, he would not fight to preserve the second engine in committee, but would support it when a House-Senate conference meets to merge the companion bills.
“I want to do whatever I can to advance it (the second engine),” Levin told Defense Daily, a trade publication, this week. “It may be better to leave it to conference if the House is going to (pass) it.”
The full House of Representatives was nearing a vote Thursday night on adding $485 million to keep the alternate engine program funded in fiscal 2011, which starts Oct. 1.
Source: Jim Wolf for Reuters.
The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee added no funds to preserve a controversial second engine…
by Tactical-Life.com / May 28, 2010