One Man’s Opinion

An independent analysis commissioned by engine-maker Pratt & Whitney to look into whether it’s advisable and less expensive to continue with a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has determined—more or less as one would expect—it would not be. Currently P&W, with engines going into the F-35 now, has a leg up on rival General Electric, whose JSF engine came later to the game and is facing the Pentagon chopping block for the second time. Not content to wait for the Congressionally directed independent studies, P&W hired Whitney, Bradley, & Brown whose study concludes, “By the time both engines are mature enough to compete, any savings in acquisition cost created by competition will be offset by the negative effects of decreased quantities and inefficiencies generated by the split procurement.” WB&B maintains that pursing two engine variants will “be greater than the cost to support one” when you consider costs to manage the engine makers and run an annual competition. This may be bad news for Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne who already has confessed his preference for a competition because of the size of the JSF program. The other independent analyses are due to Congress by March 15.