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Pentagon cuts F-35 engine program


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This could suck for those of us in Aerospace/Defense.


COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Pentagon has dropped funding for a second engine on the $275 billion F-35 jet, according to the defense spending budget released Monday, a move that will likely anger one of the Pentagon's largest overseas partners on the futuristic fighter program.

President Bush's 2008 budget does not include money for an engine developed by General Electric Co. and the British Rolls-Royce PLC that was to compete with a version made by Pratt and Whitney. The F-35, also called the Joint Strike Fighter, made its maiden flight in December with a Pratt & Whitney engine, but a GE-Rolls-Royce was scheduled to be ready by 2010.

Britain, which has invested more than $2 billion in the program, has lobbied hard to keep the second engine, with Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly making personal overtures to President Bush in the past. The British threatened to pull out last year when a similar cut was proposed and balked at committing to the next phase of development before finally signing on in December.

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