The jet engine General Electric and Rolls-Royce are developing for the F-35 fighter suffered a major setback last week when the House of Representatives voted to deny funding for fiscal 2011. In doing so, the House followed the advice of defense secretary Robert Gates, who has argued since 2007 that the engine is a waste of money since the military already has an engine for the plane that works fine. GE argues that with two engines, the government can hold competitions that drive down prices and bolster performance. But that isn’t likely given the high cost of sustaining a second engine and the way that competition operates in the military marketplace. I have written an essay at Forbes.com this week explaining why GE’s “alternate engine” isn’t likely to deliver any of its promised benefits. The essay can be found here.
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