DoD Seeks To Cut Engine Program

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DoD Seeks To Cut Engine Program, January 3, 2006

Pentagon to Kill Alternate JSF Engine

Christopher Castelli, NewsStand , December 20, 2005


Het plan om de JSF 'back-up engine' te schrappen is de laatste weken vaker genoemd (zie WSJ abstract en artikel van hieronder) en zou genoemd worden in een draft van het zgn. 'third program decision memorandum' voor het budget voor 2007, en een besparing van 1,8 miljard dollar opleveren. Indien hiervoor daadwerkelijk gekozen wordt zal dit substantieel, zo niet compleet orderverlies voor zowel Nedtech als DutchAero (tot voor kort Philips Aerospace) betekenen. Laatstsgenoemde tekende afgelopen zomer nog een contract met Rolls-Royce voor levering van de 'blisk' voor de General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 engine. Nedtech en Philips kregen in december 2004 ook al orders van RR voor de JSF back-up motor. Tegelijk zou een belangrijke deel van de businiess case onderuit gaan, met orderverlies voor Philips, dat naast Stork een van de belangrijkste Nederlandse deelnemers aan de JSF zou moeten worden.

[abstract:] Pentagon planners are seeking to cut a jet-engine program and limit several spy-plane initiatives as part of a new budget-cutting plan, according to a prominent defense industry consultant. Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said that defense policymakers want to terminate a General Electric and Rolls-Royce alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and focus development on the primary engine, made by United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney unit. Thompson also predicted the Pentagon will drop its plan to equip aging B-52 bombers as standoff electronic jammers for attack aircraft, saying that the Air Force wants to use a faster and more survivable platform and may turn to a variant of Boeing's F-15. And Thompson said the service will seek to retire its U-2 spy plane and F-117 stealth bomber, while eliminating funding for the proposed E-10 electronic surveillance plane.[end abstract]

Pentagon to Kill Alternate JSF Engine

The Pentagon is poised to cancel the Joint Strike Fighter's alternate engine program, which is being developed by a team led by General Electric and Rolls-Royce, according to a Pentagon official familiar with internal budget documents. Canceling this initiative would leave Pratt & Whitney, maker of the F135 engine, as the sole provider of engines for the fighters. No decision to cut the alternate engine program has been announced by the Defense Department. But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the plan to cancel the program and recoup $1.8 billion in the coming years for other Air Force and Navy priorities is spelled out in an internal budget document.
The document -- known as the third program decision memorandum -- is part of the endgame of the Pentagon's fiscal year 2007 budget process. The memo was issued by DOD's office of program analysis and evaluation to the armed services in draft form last week. JSF program spokeswoman Kathy Crawford said she could not comment on the FY-07 budget process. Canceling the alternate engine program would be a big departure from the current plan of record. In August, DOD awarded the GE and Rolls-Royce team a $2.4 billion contract to develop its F136 engine for the JSF program.
The contract is for the system development and demonstration phase of the F136 initiative -- a phase scheduled to run through September 2013. GE spokesman Dan Meador said the team is continuing to work on that contract. The Bush administration's FY-06 budget, which is being finalized on Capitol Hill, supports the alternate engine program. In fact, a year ago the Pentagon confirmed it would retain the alternate engine program in another internal directive known as program budget decision No. 753. The White House is scheduled to send its FY-07 budget to Congress next February.
Even if the budget proposes canceling the alternate engine program, lawmakers would have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue. In past years, members of Congress have been proponents of maintaining two engine developers for the JSF program. Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion. Copyright 2005, Inside Washington Publishers. All rights reserved. Thismaterial may not be published, broadcast or rewritten.

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