US President Barack Obama has said he will sign the US Defense Authorization Bill for FY2010, a bill which includes US$680m (A$760m) funding for the JSF’s alternative Rolls-Royce/GE F136 engine.
The funding had been in jeopardy after various interest groups had called for the second engine to be dropped, while President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates had threatened to veto any new funding for it if it took funding away from the JSF program itself. But the Senate and House appropriations committees had both voted to include the engine during their deliberations in October without eating into JSF program money.
Rolls and GE have continually argued that having an alternate engine, despite costing some US$6bn to develop, will end up saving money over the life of the program due to a competitive process in engine selection. They consider the F136 to be a younger, higher technology engine with greater thrust and growth potential over the life of the program.
Pratt & Whitney has argued itsF135 engine is more mature because it is the only F-35 engine currently flying, and it was developed from the core of F-22’s proven F119 engine.