Only months after the Pentagon disclosed it would not be buying a new engine for the tri-service F-35 fighter, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall is signaling he wouldn’t mind if Congress were to keep funding the program. Any such move would be a waste of taxpayer money at a time when the level of federal spending has already led to a budget impasse in Washington. The F-35 does not need a new engine to meet future performance requirements, it simply needs a core upgrade of the existing F135 engine–the kind of enhancement the engine was designed to accommodate, but has never received. Buying a new engine would undermine key features of the business case for the fighter program while driving up costs across the life-cycle of the program. Congress should support the Biden administration’s plan to end funding for the new engine. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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