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House Chairman Says GE Will Fund F-35 Second Engine in 2012

General Electric Co. (GE) will self-fund development of its alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in fiscal 2012, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said today.

“The GE team has committed to funding the engine for fiscal year ‘12 on their own dime,’’ said Representative Howard P. ‘‘Buck’’ McKeon, a California Republican. ‘‘I will accept and support their approach.’’

McKeon spoke at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on his vision for the Pentagon’s 2012 budget and beyond. GE is developing the engine for the Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) stealth fighter along with Rolls-Royce Group Plc. (RR/)

GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy said that the GE-Rolls Royce team will self-fund the development of the alternative engine for the rest of this year and next year. That would cost more than $100 million, Kennedy said. The company’s goal is to compete with primary engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp., starting in 2016, Kennedy said.

‘‘I thank GE and Rolls Royce for coming to us with a smart, viable solution to a tough problem,” McKeon said. The GE alternative engine is 80 percent done and the company will not lobby for the “final 20 percent” of funding needed to finish the engine.

The Pentagon in April terminated the alternative engine program, which Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said is not needed. Congress would have to reinstate the program in order for GE and Rolls Royce to have access to Defense Department test facilities.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at rtiron@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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