Take a look at today’s Statement of Administration Policy … a strong reiteration of the administration’s objection to funding the alternate engine. The relevant paragraph reads:
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program: The Administration strongly objects to the addition of $438.9 million for development of the alternative engine program. The Administration also objects to provisions of the bill that mandate an alternative engine program for the JSF. The current engine is performing well with more than 11,000 test hours. In addition, the risks associated with a single engine provider are manageable as evidenced by the performance of the F-22 and F/A-18E/F, Air Force and Navy programs supplied by a single engine provider. Expenditures on a second engine are unnecessary and impede the progress of the overall JSF program. The Air Force currently has several fleets that operate on a single-engine source. The Administration also objects to the limit on the obligation of overall JSF development funding to 90 percent of the amount authorized until the Secretary of Defense submits a written certification that sufficient funds have been obligated in FY 2010 for the alternative engine program. If the final bill presented to the President would seriously disrupt the F-35 program, the President’s senior advisors would recommend a veto.
The SAP mentions the current engine’s more than 11,000 test hours. This figure will soon reach 12,000 test hours – adding another 1,000 hours of demonstrated, proven performance and one more feather in the F135's cap.