WASHINGTON--()--The U.S. House Armed Services Seapower and Air-Land Forces subcommittees today each marked up the National Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 5136). Recognizing that the competition created by dual-sourced engines for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) drives cost savings and reduces operational risk, both subcommittees voted to authorize $485 million in continued funding of the GE/Rolls-Royce F136 engine for the JSF.
“Today, the competitive environment created by having dual-sourced engines for the Joint Strike Fighter is estimated to save $1 billion during the next five years, and $20 billion over the life of the program”
“The committee has believed that competition in the F-35 engine program helps ensure against the operational risk of up to 95 percent of the entire U.S. tactical fighter fleet being grounded due to an engine problem,” said Air-Land Subcommittee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) at today’s markup.
This latest milestone follows a long tradition of bi-partisan Congressional support for the GE/RR F136 engine. Congress has funded the engine for 14 years in order to preserve competition on the largest weapons procurement program in history. Competing engines have been an integral component of the JSF program from its inception, and competitive behavior is proven to control costs: Government Accountability Office estimates have predicted that competition between the two F-35 engine makers could lead to long-term savings of up to 20 percent for the $100 billion engine program.
“Competition has been demonstrated to help limit cost growth in acquisition programs, including as the first alternate engine program did for the F-15, F-16 and F-14. And competition has also been demonstrated to motivate contractor responsiveness, technical innovation, and improve engine maintainability, reliability, and durability,” said Smith.
The F136 development program is more than 70 percent complete and scheduled for flight testing next year.
“Today, the competitive environment created by having dual-sourced engines for the Joint Strike Fighter is estimated to save $1 billion during the next five years, and $20 billion over the life of the program," said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “We are gratified that members of the subcommittees strongly recognize that competition is the best cost control mechanism for the largest defense program in U.S. history.”