Accession Number:

ADA543486

Title:

F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Descriptive Note:

Congressional research rept.

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2011-04-20

Pagination or Media Count:

67.0

Abstract:

For four successive years, Congress has rejected Administration proposals to terminate the program to develop the General ElectricRolls-Royce F136 engine as an alternative to the Pratt Whitney F135 engine that currently powers the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter JSF. The Administrations FY2012 budget submission again requests no funds for the program. The alternate engine program began in FY1996, when defense authorization conferees directed DOD to ensure that the JSF then JAST program provides for adequate engine competition. Through FY2009, Congress has provided approximately 2.5 billion for the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine program. The program is projected to need an additional 1.9 billion-2.9 billion through 2016 to complete the development of the F136 engine. Critics of the proposal to terminate the F136 alternate engine argue that termination was driven more by immediate budget pressures on the department than the long-term pros and cons of the F136 program. They argue that engine competition for the F-15 and F-16 saved money and resulted in greater reliability. Some who applaud the proposed termination say that single-source engine production has been the norm, not the exception. Long-term engine affordability, they claim, is best achieved by procuring engines through multiyear contracts from a single source. Canceling the F136 engine poses questions on the operational risk--particularly of fleet grounding--posed by having a single engine design and supplier. Additional issues include the potential impact this termination might have on the U.S. defense industrial base and on U.S. relations with key allied countries involved in the alternate engine program.

Subject Categories:

  • Attack and Fighter Aircraft
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE