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Brown Backs F-35 Alternate Engine, Draws Scrutiny

Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has pledged his support for the F-35 Alternate Engine, an embattled multi-billion dollar program that Congress funded last year despite a veto threat.  Proponents of the alternate engine, built by GE, argue that it brings much-needed competition to the F-35 program.  The Pentagon counters that the primary engine, built by Pratt & Whitney, is sufficient, and that funding an alternate engine diverts much-needed money away from other defense priorities.

The alternate engine program could create hundreds of jobs for the GE plant in Lynn, MA, and critics have assailed Senator Brown for supporting an arguably wasteful and unnecessary program when he criticized his democratic opponent during his successful Senate campaign for “pandering to the special interests, promising to support their pet project[s].’’

The program has so far received over $2.4B in development funding, largely despite protests from the Department of Defense.  Secretary Gates has recently pledged that he will again recommend a veto this year if Congress funds it this bill cycle.  The congressional defense committees are expected to mark up defense spending bills in May or June.

To read more, please go to The Boston Globe.

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