British Prime Minister Tony Blair has sent a letter to President Bush urging that he retain development of a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Reuters news service reports that an unnamed British official said the letter was sent shortly before Christmas. British defense contractor Rolls Royce is teamed with General Electric to produce an alternate JSF engine. It would seem that the imminent-demise speculation is correct. Of course, a prudent Pentagon would have foreseen a Blair attack and prepared the Administration for a British backlash, right
New F-35s are coming off the production line with the TR-3 upgrade and going right into storage because testing is incomplete. Next lot negotiations are continuing, but talks over a performance-based logistics contract have stalled.