GE CEO: To keep up fight for F-35 engine

General Electric Co. Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt sent a letter Wednesday morning to company employees promising to continue the fight to fund an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Last week’s vote in the House of Representatives to kill the engine project “is not the end of the process,” Mr. Immelt wrote in the letter to GE Aviation employees. He said the company “will continue to press our case in the U.S. Senate and elsewhere” for the engine, which is being developed by GE Aviation at an Ohio facility.

The primary engine supplier is Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp. GE has been developing a second engine with Rolls Royce PLC at a facility in a suburb of Cincinnati; it has argued that a second engine would lower the long-term costs of the Joint Strike Fighter program by putting competitive pressure on Pratt & Whitney.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had tried repeatedly to stop Congress from funding the F35 engine, which he has described as emblematic of wasteful government spending. Last week’s vote was a major setback for GE, as Republican budget hawks teamed up with Democrats to back a White House call to end the program.

Wall Street Journal

Read related story:

Gates increases scrutiny of costly F-35 program

Revised F-35 plan calls for 6 more years of testing

Fan Problem Leads GE-Rolls To Examine F136

GE/Rolls-Royce has 15 percent more thrust than JSF’s Pratt and Whitney engine

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