GAO Questions Math in DOD’s Anti-F136 Argument

The Defense Department’s estimate that it would cost an additional $2.9 billion over the next six years to position the General Electric-Rolls Royce F136 engine program where it could compete against Pratt & Whitney’s F135 to power future F-35 strike fighters is questionable, according to the Government Accountability Office. That’s because DOD’s estimate is based on loose assumptions and relied on data from 2007, argues GAO in a new report. It “does not include the same level of fidelity and precision normally associated with a detailed, comprehensive estimate,” explains GAO. For example, GE-Rolls might not require four years of noncompetitive procurements as DOD projects before it is in a position to compete the F136, resulting in significant cost savings, notes GAO. DOD is using the estimate as the rationale for terminating F136 work in favor of proceeding solely with the F135.