By Joi Preciphs

Senate Armed Services Cmte Chairman Carl Levin has asked Pentagon weapons buyer Frank Kendall to review whether United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney F-35 engines would be rising in cost if second engine competitor existed, Bloomberg’s Tony Capaccio reports.

  • Levin says in interview he wants Kendall to “just give us an answer for the record,” and wants issue “reviewed by the department and see what their thoughts are on it”
  • Pentagon reported this month Pratt F-35 engine program had $4.3 billion increase
  • Program manager Lt. Gen. Chris Bodgan this month told reporters “whatever acquisition program you’re on,” when in a sole-source environment, “it is difficult to find the right levers and motivation to drive costs down in the program”
  • NOTE: Pentagon in 2011 ended 14-year-old alternate F-35 engine program by GE, Rolls-Royce Group after years of battling Congress
  • Levin says he has “no idea” if it’s possible to resurrect an engine competition