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9 septembre 2011 5 09 /09 /septembre /2011 07:00



Sep 8, 2011 By Scott Malone/Reuters - AviationWeek.com


BOSTON - General Electric believes its future in the large military jet engine business depends on the fight for its alternate engine for the multinational F-35 fighter jet.


The Pentagon has said it does not want the engine, but GE and its partner on the product, Britain’s Rolls-Royce, want to continue developing it without government funding.


The companies hope a final government decision on the engine will be made by the first half of next year, Dale Carlson, GE’s executive for advanced engine systems, said at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington.


“It’s more than just the tactical aspect of selling the 136 (engine) for the F-35,” Carlson said. “Take the worst-case scenario, to say because of this lack of F-136 production for the F-35, we just scaled back significantly in our military engine offerings … You’re going to take out half of the large military engine capability in this country. I think somebody should be thinking about what the implications for that are as we have new emerging players in the world.”


The Pentagon in April formally canceled the GE-Rolls engine, saying it was an unnecessary expense. It choose Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, as the sole supplier for the program.


GE, the largest U.S. conglomerate, continues to argue that having a choice of two suppliers would save money over the long term.


Carlson said he could not say how long Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE, which in the first half of 2011 generated 18 percent of its profit in commercial aviation, would continue to pursue the F-35 business.


“There’s people obviously in our company thinking about how long this goes on,” Carlson said. “We’re hoping for resolution here in the next six to eight months, and we’ll see.


Government investment in new technologies for military engines also eventually provides a boost for civilian flight, he added.


“A lot of these technologies go directly into the commercial products as well as the military products,” Carlson said.


GE and Rolls estimate the F-35 engine program will be worth more than $100 billion in coming decades, while Pratt estimates it will be worth some $50 billion.

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