Leahy scorches Pentagon over stop-work order for GE’s F35 engine

first_imgGE Aircraft Engines – Rutland Operation,Senator Patrick Leahy yesterday lambasted the Pentagon for its decision to issue a stop-work order on General Electric’s version of the jet engine for the F35 fighter jet. Some of the components for the engine are made by GE in Rutland. The principal contractor for the engine is Pratt & Whitney. Leahy and others in Congress had been able to continue funding for the GE version through stop-gap measures as Congress continues to work on a new federal budget. However, the House declined to add the GE funding to the latest interim budget bill. The Pentagon subsequently ordered GE and partner Rolls Royce to stop work on the engine. However, GE has decided to self-fund continued work on its engine. Leahy’s spokesman, David Carle, issued the following statement Thursday evening:”Today Defense Secretary Gates and Ash Carter, undersecretary for acquisition, issued a stop-work order to GE and Roll Royce on the F136 alternate engine for the F-35.  They did this administratively, during the current short-term budget bill ‘ the current stop-gap appropriations bill that funds the government until April 8.  Senator Leahy engineered language in the first continuing resolution, last December, which prevented the Pentagon from doing this back then.  Subsequent stop-gap bills written since then by the House have not included his preventive language, and they are doing now what he knew they wanted to do last year, if given the chance.  Senator Leahy believes this is an opportunistic power grab by the Pentagon, egged on by Pratt & Whitney, to circumvent what should be a decision by Congress, not by a federal agency.  He believes it is the wrong decision, which would eliminate competition for the troubled Pratt & Whitney engine and cost taxpayers more.”Senator Leahy’s Twitter tweet yesterday: “Pentagon’s stop work-order for #GE #AltEngine is wrong for #F35 & taxpayers. No competition=higher cost & inferior engine for F35. “Carle also said that Leahy’s allies on this have also criticized the stop-work order. He said they will continue to push for continuation of the alternative engine program.  Carle said Leahy commends GE Aviation for continuing work in the meantime.last_img