Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pentagon Not Wavering on Alternate Engine Cancellation

At a press briefing yesterday, Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell poured cold water on the notion that recent problems with a test F135 engine might cause the DoD to rethink its position on the alternate engine.

Excerpts below and a full transcript here.

DoD News Briefing with Geoff Morrell from the Pentagon
September 15, 2009

Q (Off mike.) The second engine, this long-running saga; you know, there was a failure Friday of the Pratt engine in durability testing.

Does that raise cautions within the Pentagon here that their approach to stressing just a single engine might not be the prudent approach while this investigation is going on?

MR. MORRELL: No. Not at all.

Q Why not?

MR. MORRELL: There is -- there is no wavering among anybody in a decision-making position here at the Pentagon about the preference to proceed with a single engine rather than an alternate engine as well. Listen, the mishap that took place, I guess over the weekend, involving the F-135 is unfortunate, but not expected. We're in the test phase, development phase of these engines, and those things happen.

Q So where's the leverage on Pratt Whitney (sic) if they know they're the single engine maker? And -- you can read them the riot act, but if they know they're the monopoly, what's their incentive to get their act together on cost and schedule? I --

MR. MORRELL: Well, listen. You know, reputations are at stake here, Tony. I mean, there are -- there are other contracts. There are other programs in the future, no doubt, that they'd like to be a part of...I think all the talk of a second engine, an alternate engine, is wasted energy. The second engine is not going to fix the problems with the first engine. I mean, buying two of everything is not going to be the solution to all of our problems and development programs across this department.

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