F-35 engine suppliers start fixed-price bidding war

Washington DC
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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A General Electric/Rolls-Royce team has proposed a fixed price to deliver the fifth lot of low-rate initial production for the F136 alternate engine to power the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Pratt & Whitney also has proposed to offer a fixed price for the aircraft's baseline F135 engine if the Joint Programme Office requests it.

Both proposals are likely to reset debate about the alternate engine in the US Congress, which is considering the Department of Defense's request to cancel the F136.

"We're willing to take the execution risk," says Jean Lydon-Rodgers, president of the GE/R-R F136 Fighter Engine Team.

Under a firm fixed-price deal, the team would be responsible for covering any cost overruns. The potential deal could be nullified if the DoD buys fewer engines than planned, changes the specifications or alters the timing of deliveries, Lydon-Rodgers adds.

The House of Representatives has approved a fiscal year 2010 defence spending bill that inserts funds to continue development and production of the F136, but Senate appropriators have decided to withhold funding. The issue will be decided during upcoming negotiations to settle on a final bill.