New JSF F-35 Engine Project alone costs $2Bn ???


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Mar 21, 2009
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GE Pitches Fixed-Price Deal for Alternate JSF Engine?

General Electric and Rolls Royce Sept. 1 pitched Pentagon officials on a plan under which the companies would sell the U.S. military F136 engines for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) through a fixed-price contract, Defense News has learned.

COST ESTIMATES PUT the JSF main engine, being developed by Pratt & Whitney, nearly $2 billion over budget, a GE official says.
Russ Sparks, GE Aviation's vice president and general manager of military systems, and other GE and Rolls brass huddled this afternoon with Shay Assad, director of the defense procurement, acquisition policy and strategic sourcing, and Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Heinz, JSF program executive officer. Assad is a top adviser to Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter.

The companies presented Assad and Heinz with what Sparks called "a new business plan" for the F-35 alternative engine effort, under which GE and Rolls would sell the military more than 100 F136 units using a fixed-price, not cost-plus, contract for delivery between 2013 and 2015.

The Obama administration wants to kill the alternative-engine effort.

"We feel strongly there is not a need for the second engine," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sept. 1 in Fort Worth, Texas, The Associated Press reported.

Sparks said the proposal, which the companies have been discussing with the F-35 program office for several months, would pare the price tag and shift more risk on initial production engines to the GE-Rolls team.

He said cost estimates put the JSF's main engine, being developed by Pratt & Whitney, nearly $2 billion over budget.

GE-Rolls F136 officials say the fixed-price plan was hatched after the team studied the 2009 Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act, which calls for more competition through the entire life of major defense weapon programs.

"We are volunteering to the pilot program for the acquisition reform act," Sparks said.

Part of the GE and Rolls officials' pitch for using a fixed-price contract is to allow the Pentagon "to show a greater return earlier" by inserting a new level of competition - the lower price of the first 100 or so F136s - into the JEF engine effort.

If the GE-Rolls engine initiative is kept alive long enough by the Pentagon and Congress, it is slated to enter a head-to-head competition with the Pratt & Whitney power plant in 2014. The winner would be delivered to DoD in 2016.

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