The Boeing Company successfully completed its third formal customer review of its Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) last week with the U.S. Defense Department's JSF Program Office.
"We clearly demonstrated to the customer that we are on schedule, on cost and very much on track with manufacture and assembly of our JSF concept demonstration aircraft," said Frank Statkus, Boeing vice president and JSF general manager. "We used facts and data to show that our processes are sound and that we're executing our concept demonstration contract as promised. We're enthusiastically focused on the downselect in 2001."
Boeing is performing to its technical and programmatic objectives for the current phase of the JSF program, which is 56 percent complete. Recently announced design updates for the operational JSF have been assessed and are also on track.
Areas covered in the review, called a program management review, included the design updates for the operational JSF, X-32 assembly progress, technology maturation and unique technology demonstrations related to avionics, stealth and mission simulation.
Boeing is designing and building two X-32 concept demonstrators while defining the operational JSF. The X-32 aircraft are being built and flown to meet three objectives: 1) demonstrate commonality across the variants and commonality of design/build processes; 2) demonstrate the Boeing concept for short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion hover and transition modes; and 3) demonstrate the Boeing concept for low-speed carrier approach.
"These are our main marching orders under the contract," Statkus said. "As 'X' aircraft, our X-32s will validate our concepts. Our plan is to follow through on our original commitment to the contract and to our customer."
Technology demonstrators are designated with an "X," whereas prototypes are designated with a "Y." Previous fighter programs have required prototypes, unlike the JSF program.
Assembly of both X-32 concept demonstrators is ahead of schedule.
Boeing is competing to build the operational JSF under a four-year joint U.S Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and U.K. Royal Navy- and Royal Air Force-sponsored concept demonstration contract. The government is scheduled to select a winner in 2001.