The Senate on Saturday passed the Fiscal 2010 defense appropriations bill, sending the measure to President Obama for signature. The House had passed the bill on Dec. 16. Despite Administration resistance, the measure continues the alternate engine for the F-35 strike fighter and includes funding for 10 additional C-17 airlifters. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, predicts that the President will sign the spending bill. In October, President Obama did sign the companion policy measure, which also provided for the F136 engine. The Administration also did not invoke a potential veto over additional C-17s, instead repeating in September, as Congress continued work on the spending bill, only that it “strongly objects.” (Spending bill summary)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.