UAW & IAM Union Members Rally at GE Aviation Headquarters for JSF Engine
October 14, 2010
EVENDALE, Ohio -- More than 2,000 members of the United Aerospace Workers (UAW) and International Association of Machinists (IAM) joined Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and other political leaders at the GE Aviation headquarters here to rally for the F136 competitive engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 aircraft.
The F136 engine, being developed by GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce, supports more than 1,000 jobs in southern Ohio. The engine, nearing completion of its development program, is scheduled to begin flight tests on the JSF F-35 late next year.
Speaking at the rally were: Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, U.S. Representative Jean Schmidt (2nd Congressional District), U.S. Representative Steve Driehaus (1st Congressional District), Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, Gary Jordan, UAW president of Local 647; Ken Lortz, UAW, 2B Director; Matt Louiso, IAM local president; Scott Ernest, general manager of Supply Chain for GE Aviation; and David Joyce, president & CEO of GE Aviation.
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.
# Ohio Governor Ted Strickland emphasized that funding the F136 is "not a complicated" decision. "This engine deserves on this (JSF) airplane. Give our pilots and our nation the benefits of competition."
# U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio 2nd District), who has supported the F136 through five budget cycles, said that funding competing JSF engines is a national security issue. "The F136 engine has the potential to save lives," she said.
# U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio 1st District) described his on-going discussions with President Obama over funding the F136 engine. "This is about jobs, economy, and national security, and it's just that simple."
# Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory described the confidence he has in GE jet engines, which extends to the F136 engine.
# Gary Jordan, UAW Local 647 president, urged UAW and IAM members to be proud of the GE Aviation heritage in Evendale, which includes the F136 program. "Competition will elevate the best engine for the Joint Strike Fighter," he said.
# Ken Lortz, UAW 2B Director, called any effort to cancel the F136 a "grave mistake." He described the American aerospace industry as envied around the globe. "Cancelling the F136 would take GE and the UAW out of the fighter engine business, where we have such a rich heritage."
# Matt Louiso, IAM local president said the F136 program will "enrich the lives of this community for years to come."
# David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation, thanked the UAW, IAM, and the Ohio political delegation for its continued support. After describing the many storied fighter engines created in Evendale, he added, "Our future in fighter jet engines depends upon the F136 program."
# Scott Ernest, general manager of the GE Aviation supply chain, emphasized the successful performance of the F136 engine in development test, adding "this engine was born to run!"
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. In addition, the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense also voted to continue funding the F136 development.
The F136 development is underway 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 GE (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.
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