This is part 2 of the transcript from the press conference yesterday with F-35 program chief Brig Gen David Heinz. This is what he has to say about the potential operational risk of eliminating the F136 alternate engine for the F-35 program.
HEINZ: In the future,should there be an engine incident on the F135, our ability to absorb an incidentthat may ground a large number of those motors, because I have type modelseries variance right now, is going to lessen.
I’m gong toreplace a majority of the F/A-18s, F-16s [and] the Harriers with a single airplane.And so you don’t have the operational flexibility with the various type modelseries that you enjoy today. So if the Harriers went down — and they did for11 months back in 2000 timeframe — for an engine issue, you could absorb thatwith your F/A-18s. … That becomes limited in the future with the F-35.
I believethat part of the debate that has to occur — and is occurring – is, is there anoperational risk that we are accepting by having just a single enginemanufacturer.
I simplythink that we focus too much on the discussion about cost and not theoperational risk.
Most of thediscussion has been we think the risk is acceptable. I understand that today. Ithink as we look towards the future that TMS [??] flexibility goes down andtherefore becomes a little bit different questions. And therefore we shouldconsider with data analysis do we still believe that’s acceptable.