Feed on

Gosh, only one day after my post on GE, this comes across the desk:

If Congress is looking for New Year’s resolutions, it could start by breaking the habit of funding programs the government doesn’t want. A case in point is the attempt to throw another $450 million at the development of a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a plan that Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the military doesn’t need.

In what has become an annual ritual, Congress is weighing whether one of the largest weapons programs in history should support the development of F-35 engines by both General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. In 2001, GE’s engine lost in the procurement competition to the one designed by Pratt & Whitney, as F-35 developers Lockheed Martin and Boeing preferred the latter version.

To hedge its technological risk, the Pentagon nonetheless sought financing for the GE engine as a backup through 2006 in case the Pratt & Whitney version fell short. That hasn’t happened, and as budgets have tightened the Pentagon has understandably decided that it needs only one engine design. As Secretary Gates put it, “Only in Washington does a proposal where everybody wins get considered a competition, where everybody is guaranteed a piece of the action at the end.”

A gold sticker to anyone who can guess why this is going on.

2 Responses to “Government Electric Update”

  1. Rod says:

    I don’t need a gold star, but my guess is that political corruption abounds in the defense business, and when competing companies plant big kisses on the rear ends of senators and congressmen, miracles happen.

    It is a mystery why the ultimate effectiveness of a weapons system cannot be determined until after the long process of manufacturing it. Jet engines are not a new phenomenon, and both companies have manufactured engines that work as planned. You don’t need two companies unless the CEO’s have given bazillions to .

  2. Rod says:

    That last sentence came out wrong. I had written inside less than and greater than signs the words “your choice of Democrat or Republican here.”

    “” — maybe putting it inside quotation marks makes it past the interpreter.

Leave a Reply to Rod