Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gates Got It Right: F-35 Extra Engine Unneeded

Defense analyst Loren Thompson writes today on the Early Warning Blog that Secretary of Defense Gates got it right: an extra engine for the F-35 is unneeded.

Let's set aside the fact that the money for the second engine is being taken out of other F-35 accounts in a manner detrimental to the overall effort, and just look at the merits of the alternate-engine concept. There has only been one major effort to buy competing engines for military aircraft -- which also pitted a winning Pratt engine against an alternate GE engine -- and in that rivalry, the GE product never managed to match the safety record of the Pratt offering. Proponents of repeating that process point to savings, but those materialized only after the government had paid all the costs for designing, developing and producing the rival engine. The government has to spend more money to get to the point where competition generates savings, because it is the only customer for either engine so it has to foot the whole bill for both powerplants.
The full post is here.

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