WASHINGTON DC - September 30, 2010 - Members of the International Union United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) gathered with members of the U.S. Congress and GE Aviation to support a renewed American industrial base while rallying at the U.S. Capitol for the F136 competitive engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 aircraft.
The F136 engine, being developed by GE and Rolls-Royce, will support 4,000 jobs across the U.S. when it enters full production later this decade.
Speaking at the rally were: Rudy Gomez, UAW Aerospace International Representative; U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio);
*U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); John Loomis, vice president, human resources for GE Infrastructure; Scott Ernest, vice president and general manager, supply chain, GE Aviation; U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R - Ohio); and U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio). The compelling benefits for competing JSF engines have led to 16 years of bipartisan Congressional support for the F136 engine. The U.S.
Government Accountability Office has twice concluded that competing JSF engines could save $20 billion over the life of the program.
* Rudy Gomez, UAW Aerospace International Representative, noted that canceling a competitive engine program " would compromise America's aerospace industry. A strong, well-funded U.S. manufacturing base is critical."
* U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) commented on the history of the U.S. industrial base, stating that "union workers at plants like GE built the American industrial base and the middle class. When American workers compete, America wins. That's why competition on the JSF is so important for national security, preserving jobs and our community."
* U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) thanked GE and the UAW, and added, "GE has been a wonderful partner in Michigan doing good work and bringing in jobs. We must stand together to make sure the funding stays in the bill and this competitive engine is built."
*U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) said, "We come together to invest in American manufacturing. This isn't only about jobs, this is about competition and having a strong fighter jet for the men and women in uniform. We will continue to fight this fight."
* U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) discussed the merits of competition for the JSF, citing bi-partisan support. "By investing now in the F136 program, we ensure that we are prepared for national emergencies. Competition drives down costs and in the case of the F136, it helps grow the American industrial base," she said.
* John Loomis of GE Infrastructure discussed GE's American Renewal initiative, noting that "GE is investing hundreds of millions of dollars across America to protect and create high-paying jobs, increase exports, and preserve our manufacturing base. These investments protect and grow the U.S. industrial base. And we must continue to find new ways to partner with government - to protect large industrial projects that preserve and create high-quality jobs - and strengthen our local communities."
* Scott Ernest of GE Aviation thanked the UAW and Congress for its continued F136 support. "Our supply chain team is fully engaged in the effort to protect funding for the GE/Rolls-Royce engine because of the impact it will have on our employees and our communities. America's future fighter capability lies with the JSF - the largest defense procurement in our history. Cancel the GE/Rolls-Royce engine for JSF and you take away America's ability to get the best technology at the best price," he said.
The F136 engine is not included in the President's 2011 budget. However, in May, the full U.S. House of Representatives voted for F136 funding in its Defense Authorization Bill. Also, the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense voted to continue funding the F136 development.
The F136 development is led at GE Aviation in Evendale, Ohio; and at Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, Indiana. Development is 75% complete. The engine will begin flight tests in 2011. The F136 is one of the most powerful fighter jet engines in aviation history. It will compete head-to-head with an engine from Pratt & Whitney on the JSF aircraft.
Almost $3 billion has been invested in the F136 engine, and $1 billion is needed to complete its development. Cancel now, and $3 billion in taxpayer money is wasted. The JSF aircraft program is the largest procurement in U.S. history. JSF aircraft will replace nearly all of the current tactical fighter jets in the U.S. inventory. JSF production may reach as many as 5,000 to 6,000 aircraft over the next 30 years.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit us at www.ge.com/aviation