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House votes to end F-35 secondary engine program

Posted
2/16/2011 11:44:00 AM
By: NASDAQ.com News
Referenced Stocks:GE

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.