Defense, politics and economics

Defense, politics and economics

February 19th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

It's important for the United States to have the very best fighter aircraft in the world.

That's why there's a lot of debate on the new F-35 fighter jet. Controversy has arisen over where the engines for the F-35s should be made. That's because many jobs and a lot of money will be involved. A program to build an alternative engine for the jet would cost $3 billion over several years-$450 million this year alone.

The competitors have been General Electric and Rolls-Royce in Ohio and Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut. Pratt & Whitney builds the main F-35 engine.

But having a second manufacturer of engines for the F-35 will increase costs at a time when Congress needs to be economizing.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen testified in the House, "I've been doing money a long time; I can't make sense out of a second engine."

And in a House vote, the pricey alternative-engine plan lost-at least for the time being.

Military equipment decisions should never be based on partisan politics or regional interests. Production decisions should be made on the ability to deliver high-quality equipment at the lowest cost and on the best time schedule.