Another Vote for a Sole Engine:

Defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute has come down on the Pentagon’s side in the matter of whether or not there should be an alternate engine for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Pentagon has tried twice to kill the second engine development program, only to be foiled by Congress. Lawmakers who still want to pursue another engine most often cite the benefits of competition, but Thompson argues that four out of five independent studies show that “savings from competition across the lifetime of the program are unlikely to match or surpass the added cost of maintaining a second source.” He goes on to downplay claims of enhanced safety and reliability and of preserving the industrial base. What he does not say is that Air Force leadership has acknowledged that canceling the alternate engine was purely a monetary decision. If he had his druthers, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne would keep it.