Skirting a JSF Delay:

The House-Senate conference report for the 2007 defense appropriations bill likely has derailed calls for a delay to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and—much to the Pentagon’s dismay—it would resurrect the alternate engine program. The House already has passed the spending bill; the Senate was expected to follow suit this week. Despite a push in the Senate to delay F-35 production—fronted primarily by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)—conferees agreed to fund two F-35s in 2007 and provide advance funding for 12 in 2008. (JSF program manager, Brig. Gen. Charles Davis, had said a delay would significantly increase unit cost.) Conferees also added $340 million to “continue developing a second source for JSF aircraft engines.” And, they went one step further, directing DOD to include second engine funding in its 2008 budget request.