Button Up?

According to the DOD Buzz blog, “a source with access to Joint Strike Fighter officials” revealed that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has “hammered Heinz [Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Heinz] to say nothing more about” purported issues with Pratt & Whitney F135 engine production for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. As we reported earlier, the blog had quoted Heinz, the new JSF program executive officer, as saying P&W had F135 parts reliability problems. P&W responded that cost and production issues are not new at this stage of development. The debate continues over whether it’s advisable to pursue development of the alternate engine, the General Electric-Rolls Royce F-136. The Obama Administration does not want the second engine, but Congress has consistently refuted the Pentagon’s past attempts to kill it.