Still Leaning Towards Two

As of Thursday, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, said he’s still “unconvinced” that terminating the F-35 strike fighter competing engine program “makes sense.” Skelton’s comments came one day after he said his committee “finally received” the Pentagon’s updated business case assessment that purportedly justifies its plan to scrap the General Electric-Rolls Royce F136 engine and go forward with only Pratt & Whitney’s F135 powerplant, which is already in production. Skelton said his committee has done a cursory examination and believes the Defense Department is focused on near-term costs to the exclusion of the projected long-term benefits of having two engine suppliers. Further, it does not seem to factor the risk of having just one engine type for the thousands of F-35s the US military will field. “We cannot use near-sighted vision when long-term security is at stake,” he said. (Skelton statement) (HASC fact sheet, including DOD’s updated assessment)