High Stakes for F136

In the midst of a pitched battle of survival, General Electric and Rolls-Royce have reportedly made an unsolicited offer to provide the Defense Department with about 100 F136 engines for the F-35 stealth fighter at a fixed price. Reuters news wire service reported Wednesday that the offer was discussed Tuesday during a meeting with top Pentagon officials. This is considered a rather bold move since the F136 is still in development and the companies, and not the Pentagon, would be on the hook to pay for any unexpected problems that arose. The F136 is pitted against Pratt & Whitney’s F135 for the rights to power thousands of F-35s in coming decades. Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to kill the F136, saying there’s just not enough money to fund both models given other budget priorities. But some senior House defense overseers are fighting to keep the F136 alive.