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Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

The focus of the program is producing effectiveness at an affordable price—the Air Force’s unit flyaway cost objective is $28 million (FY94$). This unit recurring flyaway cost is down from a projected, business as usual,cost of $36 million. The Concept Demonstration Phase (CDP) was initiated in November 1996 with the selection of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Both contractors are: (1) designing and building their concept demonstration aircraft, (2) performing unique ground demonstrations, (3) developing their weapon systems concepts. First operational aircraft delivery is planned for FY08.

The JSF is a joint program with shared acquisition executive responsibilities. The Air Force and Navy each provide approximately equal shares of annual funding, while the United Kingdom is a collaborative partner, contributing $200 million to the CDP. CDP, also known as the Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PDRR) phase, consists of three parallel efforts leading to Milestone II and an Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) start in FY01:

Concept Demonstration Program. The two CDP contracts were competitively awarded to Boeing and Lockheed Martin for ground and flight demonstrations at a cost of $2.2 billion for the 51-month effort, including an additional contract to Pratt & Whitney for the engine. Each CDP contractor will build concept demonstrator aircraft (designated X-32/35). Each contractor will demonstrate commonality and modularity, short take-off and vertical landing, hover and transition, and low-speed carrier approach handling qualities of their aircraft.

Technology Maturation. These efforts evolve key technologies to lower risk for EMD entry. Parallel technology maturation demonstrations are also an integral part of the CDP / PDRR objective of meeting warfighting needs at an affordable cost. Focus is on seven critical areas: avionics, flight systems, manufacturing and producibility, propulsion, structures and materials, supportability, and weapons. Demonstration plans are coordinated with the prime weapon system contractors and results are made available to all program industry participants.

Requirements Definition. This effort leads to Joint Operational Requirements Document completion in FY00; cost/performance trades are key to the process.

In October 2001 the two contractor teams, one led by Lockheed Martin and the other led by Boeing, completed the concept development phase that demonstrated the design validity and the flight performance of the three aircraft variants. Both contractor teams met or exceeded the performance objective established for the aircraft and have met the established criteria and technical maturity for entering the next phase of the program, systems development and demonstration.

On 24 October 2001, the Defense Acquisition Board met to review the status of the Joint Strike Fighter and to determine whether the aircraft is ready to enter this next phase. The DAB reviewed the technical performance relative to the exit criteria for the SDD phase; the funding profiles projected over the next 10 years; and the unit-cost estimates. The DAB also reviewed an independent technology maturity report by the director of Defense Research and Engineering. Based on the information received, the DAB concluded that the Joint Strike Fighter is ready to enter the next phase of development. This was not a decision to enter into production or a decision on how many aircraft to produce, but it was a commitment to continue the development leading to those decisions in the future. The DAB made the decision to enter into SDD, and that decision has been reviewed and concurred in by the secretary and deputy secretary of Defense.

The Lockheed Martin team, which had Northrop and British Aerospace on it, emerged continuously as the clear winner based on strengths that they had, few weaknesses and the risks involved in the proposals of both sides.

The System Development and Demonstration phase of the program will prove out the validity and design and capability of the aircraft prior to entering production. It is not a decision to enter production at this point in time, it is a decision to enter the next phase. The contract that's been awarded to Lockheed Martin is about $19 billion for this, and there's another contract to Pratt and Whitney, which will be the engine producer at this phase in the program, of about $4.8 billion. The value of the program, depending on the degree of international cooperation and participation, will be -- could be in excess of $200 billion.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:33:28 ZULU