Is there more to the F135 engine mishap, or just more war of words?
September 21, 2009—According to DOD Buzz report, an unidentified Congressional aide calls the recent F135 engine ground-test mishap "significant."
The same report quotes engine-maker Pratt & Whitney that it has a fix in hand for a suspect "worn bushing" that will have "little or no impact on cost or schedule."
That means: The war of words continues in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter engine saga.
The Congressional staffer did tell DOD Buzz that a Pentagon fact sheet used the term "significant" when describing the damage from the test.
However, the Pentagon's F-35 deputy program manager, Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore, said last week that DOD is set on a single engine provider and saw no need for concern from the recent engine test failure.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell echoed that sentiment, telling reporters that decision-makers had not wavered on the matter.
Meanwhile, last week, alternate engine maker General Electric-Rolls Royce said it had submitted an unsolicited fixed-price contracting approach to encourage the Pentagon to continue a second engine, as some lawmakers still want. The F136 team said the approach would shift "significant cost risk from taxpayers to the Fighter Engine Team until head-to-head competition begins between the F136 and the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine in 2013."
The next day, P&W offered to provide a firm, fixed-price proposal. P&W vice president Warren Boley said in the release, "The F135 has reached a level of maturity where we've been able to work aggressively to reduce costs through more efficient manufacturing processes and improved supplier performance."
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