WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced confirmation that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates will continue funding for the Joint Strike Fighter F136 competitive engine. After he intervened in December, Brown received confirmation from U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew that the budget measure known as the Continuing Resolution will maintain funding for the Joint Strike Fighter F136 competitive engine. Brown has now successfully received an assurance from the Department of Defense that the agency would carry out the intent of Congress by funding the competitive engine, which is being developed by General Electric (GE) in Evendale.
“This is a victory for Ohio jobs, Ohio innovation, and GE Aviation workers in Evendale who do the difficult job of creating a competitive alternate engine,” Brown said. “By consenting to Congressional intent, Secretary Gates affirms the will of the American people. Every two seconds of every single day, a GE engine lifts a plane into the air. And today, the work Evendale employees do is as important as ever. As we rebuild our economy, we are renewing our focus on American manufacturing and national security.”
Last week, Brown joined Sens. John Kerry and Patrick Leahy in pushing for continued funding. A copy of Sen. Brown's letter to Secretary Gates can be found here.
“GE Aviation is deeply gratified by the diligent work of Sen. Brown in protecting the critically important F136 competitive engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. Ensuring competing JSF engines is vital to the country,” President and CEO of GE Aviation David Joyce said after Brown received confirmation from OMB that it would continue to fund the program.
Brown sent a letter to OMB Director Lew in December seeking confirmation that the Administration would follow Congress’ mandate for funding the competitive engine program under a Continuing Resolution. OMB responded that the Continuing Resolution, as drafted, would follow Congressional intent and continue the competitive engine program.
Last year, Brown helped secure $465 million in federal funds to support the creation of a competitive engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) propulsion system. In April 2010, Brown visited the GE Aviation facility in Evendale to address workers and get an update on the development of the Joint Strike Fighter F136 competitive engine.
The F-35 program will develop and deploy the fifth-generation strike fighter aircraft to meet the operational needs of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and their allies. The F-35 employs cutting-edge technologies including synthetic aperture radar integration techniques, advanced target recognition, and advanced capabilities in its resistance to jamming, maintainability, and logistic support. This engine competition for the F-35 saves money and improves our national security.
GE makes the competitive engine with its partner Rolls-Royce and much of the testing will be done in Evendale. The engine program has created hundreds of jobs and could lead to many thousands depending on how many engines are produced. The Joint Strike Fighter is the largest weapon procurement program in history.