Composites cut cost for F-35?

June 17, 2010 at 8:54 AM

WASHINGTON, June 17 (UPI) -- The use of composite material in engines designed for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could save the program more than $3 billion, a report from Washington said.

A Pentagon report to Congress said a team led by General Electric and Rolls-Royce developed a pressure turbine vane made from ceramics that gives the F-35 more thrust and better fuel economy, Defense News reports.

The project could decrease production and maintenance costs by more than $3 billion for the F135 and F136 engine variants for the joint strike fighter.

U.S. lawmakers are pressing for the F136, an alternate engine made by GE and Rolls-Royce, inserting $485 million into the 2011 defense budget for the program.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told lawmakers the F136 "does not meet performance standards" for the F-35 and U.S. President Barack Obama said he would veto any defense measure that included funds for the F136.

The bill, however, contains a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding homosexuals serving openly in the military.

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