House votes to end F-35 secondary engine program


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In the end, even the Pentagon wanted to bin it.

President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives today reached a compromise and axed the $450 million F-35 General Electric ( GE ) F136 jet engine program, which funded the construction of a secondary powerplant for the F-35 Lightning II fighter based on technology from GE and Rolls-Royce.

Both the Obama and the Bush administration had fought to terminate the program. Even after Defense Secretary Robert Gates removed it from the Pentagon's funding requests, congress reinserted it a few years ago.

The final vote in the House stood at 233-198, with newly-elected, budget-hawk Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with liberal Democrats opposed to continued increases in expenditure on military hardware. 

The newly-instated Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner of Ohio, voted against stripping the funding. GE and Rolls-Royce had pledged to bring jobs to Ohio, Indiana and more than a dozen other states. Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corporation (UTC), is the manufacturer of the F-35's current engine. The firm said that GE's engine would just draw jobs away from their own manufacturing plants.

The F-35 already has a functioning engine, the P&W F135. However, the F136 the project's supporters said that competition between suppliers would ultimately lower costs for the government.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Economy , Technology

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