Cincinnati: In what appears to be a concerted move American jet engine manufacturer GE Aviation on Thursday offered to fund the development of the recently terminated alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) through 2012. GE's proposal comes a day after a House of Representative panel approved legislation aimed at reviving the engine over the objections of president Barack Obama and defence secretary Robert Gates, who have strongly opposed the programme, calling it wasteful spending.
A defence department spokesperson said Thursday that the department's position had not changed.
The Armed Services subcommittee overseeing land and air forces on Wednesday approved legislation that would compel the Pentagon to reopen competition if it should ask Congress for more money for the Pratt & Whitney engine. The legislation becomes applicable for the next budget year.
The jet's main engine is built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
The GE's F136 alternate engine has been under development for about 15 years, but the 2011 US defence budget makes no provision for funding the programme and the Department of Defence recently issued an order to stop work on it.
The programme has already consumed $3 billion of taxpayer money and is now said to be about 80 per cent complete.