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GE Aviation ends F-35 fighter engine development programme news
05 December 2011

Cincinnati: A last ditch effort by GE Aviation to keep its alternate engine project for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme alive through self-funding has now been abandoned by the company. It said the business model justifying such an effort no longer existed.

The joint effort with Rolls Royce, which had defied a number of executive efforts to kill it over the years, has now ended.

According to GE spokesperson Rick Kennedy, the company's offer to pay for continued development no longer made business sense. He confirmed there would be no job losses, with some 800 jobs related to the project already absorbed into other programmes.

The Department of Defence in both the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations had refused to include the alternate engine in its recent budgets, calling it unneeded spending, disregarding Congressional pressure from members of Ohio's congressional delegation.

After the defence department terminated the programme, GE Aviation said it would continue working on the project with partner Rolls-Royce through self-funding.

"We had offered to develop it on our own dime," Kennedy said, but he said uncertainty over schedules in the jet fighter program and other issues led GE Aviation to conclude that "the business model just wasn't there for us to do it."

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GE Aviation ends F-35 fighter engine development programme