U.S. cancels alternative engine for the F-35

General Electric says the F136 program has completed 80 percent of its developmental phase. (GE Aviation)

According to a U.S. Defense Department news release, the companies, along with Congress, were notified of the decision April 25.

Pentagon procurement czar Ashton Carter issued a stop-work order March 24 to the companies to halt their work on the alternative engine, which the Defense Department had determined is “unneeded and wasteful.”

That action, which saved the Defense Department $1 million per day, was put in place prior to a final resolution of the F136′s disposition in the FY2011 budget.

After Congress voted earlier this month to enact a full-year continuing resolution in which there were no funds allocated to the F136, Carter ordered the engine to be terminated.

General Electric spokesman Rick Kennedy said in a written statement that the company was disappointed but would comply with the termination notice. However, the company is not backing down from continuing the fight to save the engine.

“[General Electric] and Rolls-Royce will work closely with our Congressional supporters during the 2012 budget process in pursuit of incorporating the engine into the program, and preserving competition,” Kennedy said, echoing earlier comments by General Electric CEO and chairman Jeffrey Immelt.

In a letter to GE Aviation employees, Immelt vowed to continue to fight to save the engine program.

“I can assure you we are not giving up. We will fight to bring competition to the 2012 budget debate,” he said.

Immelt said that the government would forgo billions in long-term savings by canceling the F136, which he said has completed 80 percent of its developmental phase.

“We will keep the core technical team together as we continue the fight, and reassign the other highly skilled employees of the F136 team to other Aviation programs,” Immelt said.

Dave Majumdar – DefenseNews