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Fri, Mar 25, 2011

Pentagon Tells GE To 'Stop Work' On F-136 Engine

Company Says It Is Committed To Completing The Powerplant

The Department of Defense has issued a "Stop Work" order to the GE/Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine team instructing them to stop efforts on the F136 for 2011 once the current funding runs out at the end of March.

"The administration and the DoD strongly oppose the extra engine program, as reflected in the President’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal that was recently submitted to Congress, which does not include funding for the program," the Pentagon said in a news release. "In our view it is a waste of taxpayer money that can be used to fund higher Departmental priorities, and should be ended now.

"The House of Representatives has recently expressed its own opposition to the extra engine in its passage of H.R. 1 including the adoption of the Rooney Amendment which removed all fiscal 2011 funding for this program," the statement continued. "In addition, funding for the extra engine was not authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2011, enacted in January. In light of these recent events, Congressional prerogatives, and the administration’s view of the program, we have concluded that a stop work order is now the correct course. The stop work order will remain in place pending final resolution of the program’s future, for a period not to exceed 90 days, unless extended by agreement of the government and the contractor.

GE issues a statement of its own, saying it was "disappointed" by the DoD's unilateral action before Congress has completed its work on the fiscal year 2011 budget. But, the company said, it was not giving up on the engine. "We feel so strongly about this issue, as do our Congressional supporters, that we will, consistent with the stop work directive; self-fund the F136 program through this 90-day stop work period," the company said in a statement. "We are fully committed to delivering a better engine for the F-35 program, and have no intention of abandoning the warfighter and taxpayers.

"Everyone knows competition saves money. Our supporters in Congress are more determined than ever, and are encouraging us to press the merits of our case.

"We will not walk away from a $3 billion taxpayer investment and your hard work to deliver what the Senate has called a “near model program.” The F136 engine is meeting or exceeding performance expectations, is demonstrating significant advantages over the Pratt & Whitney engine, and is nearly complete.

"The F135 has racked up $3.4 billion in cost overruns with continued delays and technical issues. Just last week, House hearings confirmed that the P&W engine has not met required testing for the JSF flight envelope after four years.

"These issues won’t fix themselves. Only competition creates performance based rewards and delivers better and better capability … it’s just that simple. Mischaracterizing the F136 as “redundant” does not support our founding principles of competition and excellence which are at the core of the US military.

"We are gratified that several House and Senate leaders, who will convene in early April to complete the FY2011 budget process, are determined supporters of competing JSF engines for a myriad of financial and security reasons."

FMI: www.ge.com

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