In January 2006 the Pentagon attempted to remove FY 2007 funding from the F-35 Lightning II’s second engine option, the GE/ Rolls Royce F136. As predicted, protests from fellow Tier 1 partner Britain followed at the highest levels of government. Many in the US Congress, meanwhile, were openly skeptical of handing Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine the keys to the entire F-35 fleet. In the end, the Pentagon’s argument that low program risk made R&D spending on F136 development a waste, failed. Congress re-inserted funding, and F136 development has continued on schedule.
Fast forward to the FY 2008 budget. For the second year in a row, the USAF removed funding for the GE/RR F136, arguing that killing the F136 would free up $1.8 billion. Politicians disagreed, and the USA’s GAO auditors backed them up. Funding was reinstated. Again. That process was repeated every year until December 2011, when Pratt & Whitney was finally handed its engine monopoly over the US military’s core fighter jet of the future.