- Joint Strike Fighter Program
The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) became synonymous with the later
F-35 Lightning II, however until 2001 the term was applied to the competition between the Boeing X-32and Lockheed Martin X-35. The JSF program was designed to replace the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8B fleet of tactical fighter aircraft in U.S. military service.
The JSF program was the result of the merger of the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter (CALF) and Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) projects.cite news | first = Mark | last = Nicholls | title = JSF: The Ultimate Prize | work = Air Forces Monthly | publisher = Key Publishing | pages = 32-38 | date = August 2000|accessdate = 2006-12-24] The merged project continued under the JAST name until the Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase, during which the project became the Joint Strike Fighter.cite news | title = U.S., U.K. sign JAST agreement | work = Aerospace Daily | publisher = McGraw-Hill| page = 451| date = 1995-11-25| accessdate = 2006-12-24]
The CALF was an ARPA program to develop a
STOVLStrike Fighter (SSF) for the US Marine Corps and replacement for the F-16. The USAF passed over the F-16 Agile Falconin the late 1980s, essentially an enlarged F-16, and continued to mull other designs. In 1992 the Marines and US Air Force agreed to jointly develop the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter, also known as Advanced Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (ASTOVL). The Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program was created in 1993, implementing one of the recommendations of a United States Department of Defense(DoD) "Bottom-Up Review to include the US Navy in the Common Strike Fighter program." (The review also led the Pentagon to continue the F-22 and F/A-18E/F programs, cancel the Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) and the A/F-X programs, and curtail F-16 and F/A-18C/D procurement.) The JAST program office was established on 27 January 1994, to develop aircraft, weapons, and sensor technology with the aim of replacing several disparate U.S. and UK aircraft with a single family of aircraft (mainly it would replace F-16 in terms of numbers).
Two contracts to develop prototypes were awarded on
November 16 1996, one each to Lockheed Martinand Boeing. Each firm would produce two aircraft to demonstrate conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL), carrier takeoff and landing (CV version), and short takeoff and vertical landing ( STOVL). McDonnell Douglas' bid was rejected in part due to the complexity of its design. [cite news| first = David | last = Fulghum| coauthors = Morrocco, John | title = Final JSF Competition Offers No Sure Bets | work = Aviation Week and Space Technology| publisher =McGraw-Hill | page = 20 | date = 1996-11-25| accessdate = 2006-12-23] Lockheed Martin and Boeing were each given $750 million for the development of the concept demonstrators and definition of the Preferred Weapon System Concept (PWSC). The aim of this funding limit was to prevent one or both contractors bankrupting themselves in an effort to win such an important contract.
Also in 1996, the UK Ministry of Defence launched the Future Carrier Borne Aircraft project. This program sought a replacement for the Sea Harrier (and later the Harrier GR7); the Joint Strike Fighter was selected in January 2001.
During concept definition, two Lockheed Martin airplanes were flight-tested: the X-35A (which was later converted into the X-35B), and the larger-winged X-35C. [ [http://www.jsf.mil/history/his_jsf.htm Joint Strike Fighter official site - History page] ] Arguably the most persuasive demonstration of the X-35's capability was the final qualifying Joint Strike Fighter flight trials, in which the X-35B STOVL aircraft took off in less than 500 feet (150 m), went supersonic, and landed vertically — a feat that
Boeing's entry was unable to achieve. [PBS: [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3004_xplanes.html Nova transcript "X-planes"] ]
The contract for System Development and Demonstration (SDD) was awarded on
26 October 2001to Lockheed Martin, whose X-35 beat the Boeing X-32. One of the main reasons for this choice appears to have been the method of achieving STOVL flight, with the Department of Defense judging that the higher performance lift fan system was worth the extra risk. When near to the ground, the Boeing X-32 suffers from the problem of hot air from the exhaust circulating back to the main engine, which causes the thrust to weaken and the engine to overheat.
United States Department of Defenseofficials and the UK Minister of Defence Procurement said the X-35 consistently outperformed the X-32, although both met or exceeded requirements. The development of the JSF will be jointly funded by the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norwayand Denmark. Lockheed Martin's X-35 would become the basis of the F-35 Lightning II, currently in development.
One of the key innovations of the Joint Strike Fighter Program is the [http://www.jsf.mil/program/prog_org_autolog.htm Autonomic Logistics approach] . Autonomic Logistics is a seamless, embedded solution that integrates aircraft performance, operational parameters, aircraft configuration, scheduled upgrades and maintenance, component history, diagnostics,
prognostics, health management, and service support for the F-35. Essentially, Autonomic Logistics performs behind-the-scenes monitoring, maintenance and prognostics to support the aircraft and ensure its continued good health. The health management solution for the F-35 is commonly known as Prognostics and Health Management, or PHM.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for worldwide implementation of the JSF Autonomic Logistics system. The Autonomic Logistics system is planned as a performance-based logistics contract and involves a cooperative partnering agreement between the government and industry. The JSF Autonomic Logistics approach is a joint solution that emphasizes commonality for all participating countries, reducing redundant duplication and maximizing total system efficiencies.
Joint Combat Aircraft
Advanced Tactical Fighter
Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/xplanes/ "Battle of the X-Planes."]
Emmy Award-winning NOVATV documentary, 2001.
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