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Defense Department terminates contract for second F-35 jet engine

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The move was expected after administration opposition to the program
  • Last month, the Defense Department stopped work on the project
  • The recent budget deal for fiscal 2011 omitted funding for the program

(CNN) -- The Defense Department announced Monday it was terminating the contract to build an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet.

The announcement was expected amid strong opposition to the program by President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Congressional supporters of the second engine project sought to protect more than 1,000 jobs tied to it.

The recent budget agreement for the rest of fiscal year 2011, which ends September 30, omitted any money for the project. Last month, amid the budget debate, the Defense Department issued a stop-work order on the project.

Monday's announcement said that the department notified the General Electric/Rolls Royce team working on the alternate engine that the contract had been terminated.

Those in favor of the second engine project say that competition will drive down costs and lead to innovation. Gates, however, has called the program -- estimated to cost from $1.8 billion to $2.9 billion -- unjustified and excessive.