Internal Support for F136?

If the press reports are correct, Vice Adm. David Venlet, head of the Pentagon’s F-35 strike fighter program, has told House members behind closed doors that he favors competition for the F-35’s engine. Such a position would run contra to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ resolute stance against maintaining two F-35 engine providers. DOD Buzz reports that senior House Armed Services Committee members mentioned Venlet’s alleged position in a letter sent last week to Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel. The letter urged Dicks to fund the General Electric-Rolls Royce F136 engine in any forthcoming stopgap spending measure. The F136 is fighting for its survival. The Pentagon wants to stop its development and proceed solely with Pratt & Whitney’s F135 to power future F-35s. But the F136 still enjoys considerable support in Congress. Subscriber-only website first reported on the letter.