House Panel Funds F136

In its mark-up of the Fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee’s air and land forces panel added funds to keep alive the F-35 competitive engine program, the General Electric-Rolls Royce F-136, defying the Pentagon’s determination to kill the program. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), panel chairman, said in his opening statement the F136 would receive $485 million next fiscal year, with half of those funds authorized by his subcommittee and half by the committee’s seapower and expeditionary forces panel, which also marked up on Thursday. This is the fifth straight year that Congress is taking action to stave off F136 elimination, still wary of having a sole engine provider—Pratt & Whitney and its F135—for huge fleets of future US F-35s. As part of its marks, the air/land panel also added $60 million toward the Air Force’s unfunded requirements. (Smith statement)