You should know: $1.78 of this alleged overrun is the result of new requirements ordered by the Pentagon because of added weight to the aircraft. Of the remaining $800M, approximately one third is attributed to the lift system hardware developed by GE’s partner Rolls Royce as a subcontractor to P&W.
Additional costs were attributed to a redesign of the third stage turbine blade in 2009. This redesign was a normal part of development and test of propulsion systems and yields a safer, more reliable engine.
Pratt & Whitney has worked very aggressively through the last year to bring down our engine costs. We have invested significantly towards achieving our cost reduction goals. The F135 is on track to meet its cost targets and the Joint Assessment Team agrees that we have an executable plan as demonstrated in our most recent contract proposal which offers a double digit percentage savings to the government. The Joint Assessment Team which evaluated cost and affordability of the F135 program validated that Pratt & Whitney’s cost reduction plan was achievable, and in the DoD response to the GAO report said “Pratt & Whitney can realistically achieve their cost goals.”
The additional funding provided to Pratt & Whitney in 2010 is to support the extension of the F-35 flight test program following the program’s restructuring. It IS NOT related to development of the F135 engine. (Pratt defends cost-cutting measures on F-35 engine, Reuters, 3/12/10)
You’ve been told: GE Rolls-Royce F136 engine performs better and costs less.
You should know: An engine that hasn’t left the ground can’t perform better. The F135 is in production, in the air and the only engine powering the F-35 today.
You’ve been told: Competition will fix P&W’s cost overruns.
You should know: Competition Already Determined the Winner. Competition for the JSF engine happened at the contractor level when competing airframers selected a P&W engine under government rules. This process of selecting subsystems, including the engine, as part of the overall weapon system, is standard during concept demonstration. The DoD has concluded that further competition will NOT save taxpayer dollars. No other military aircraft developed in the past three decades has been procured with multiple engine suppliers. There is no extra engine for the F-22, F/A-18, C-17 or the BlackHawk and Apache military helicopters. GE thinks the government should pick the winners and losers. Pratt & Whitney believes the marketplace should pick the winners and losers.