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F-35 jet a waste of taxpayers' dollars, say McCain, Gates

F-35 jet: Defense Sec. Robert Gates, the Pentagon, the White House and Sen. John McCain all say development of a second F-35 jet engine is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

An F- 35 fighter jet simulator in Tukwila, Wash. Defense Sec. Robert Gates, the Pentagon, the White House and Sen. John McCain have asked the Senate to eliminate funding for the F-35 jet engine program.

Elaine Thompson/AP/File

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged U.S. senators on Thursday to join the U.S. House of Representatives in eliminating funding for a second engine for the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The Pentagon scored a victory on Wednesday in its five-year battle to kill that program when the House voted 233 to 198 to eliminate $450 million in fiscal 2011 funding for the engine being developed by General Electric Co (GE.N) and Britain's Rolls-Royce Plc (RR.L) as an alternate to an engine built by United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) unit Pratt & Whitney.

Gates welcomed the vote on the amendment and said he hoped the Senate would support the move by House lawmakers.

"I also would express the hope that the Senate will continue to reject the unnecessary extra engine for the F-35 as it did the last time the Senate spoke to this issue, in 2009," Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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