U.S. Senate To Hold JSF Hearings

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U.S. Senate To Hold JSF Hearings

Christopher P. Cavas, March 9, 2006
www.defensenews.com/

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De volgende week geplande JSF hoorzittingen (met ondermeer staatssecr. Gordon England) gaan over het besluit de back-up motor te schrappen en zijn daarom relevant voor Nederlandse industriele deelname, in het bijzonder die van DutchAero, voorheen Philips Aerospace. Bij een parlementair akkoord gaat een aanzienlijk deel van de voor Philips geplande activiteiten verloren en blijft feitelijk Stork alleen over als substantiele deelnemer in het project. Erg typerend voor de Amerikaanse manier van opereren is het understatement van senator Warner: "I'm concerned that our allies may not have been full participants in this decision," he said. "We've got to make sure that our partners overseas perceive that we're listening to them."



The U.S. Senate, concerned about a Pentagon decision that limits the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to a single engine supplier, will hold two days of hearings next week on the issue, said Sen. John Warner, R-Va. Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the announcement March 9 during the committee's initial hearing on the U.S. Navy's 2007 budget request. The engine hearings will begin with testimony from representatives from foreign nations who have signed up to be part of the JSF program, Warner said. Along with the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, the British Royal Navy will buy up to 150 JSFs to fit out its new aircraft carriers. Other countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway and Singapore, could also purchase versions of the aircraft. British Prime Minister Tony Blair unsuccessfully appealed to President George W. Bush in January to reconsider the single-supplier move, which eliminated an engine built jointly by General Electric and Rolls-Royce in favor of a U.S. Pratt and Whitney engine. Rolls-Royce's participation was the biggest British part in the JSF program, and Blair has taken considerable criticism for the engine's elimination. Pentagon officials say that cutting one engine supplier will save $1.8 billion. The $257 billion JSF program is the largest U.S. defense acquisition program. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., expressed his concern about the engine decision's effect on potential foreign customers. "It's gonna cost us in our relationship with the British," he said. "They feel very badly misled." Warner agreed. "I'm concerned that our allies may not have been full participants in this decision," he said. "We've got to make sure that our partners overseas perceive that we're listening to them." Warner also noted that building the aircraft with only one type of engine could result in an entire fleet of aircraft being grounded should problems arise with the engine. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will testify on March 15, Warner said, along with industry representatives.

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