Boeing successfully completed a major milestone last week when a team representing the U.S. Defense Department and the U.K. Ministry of Defence met with Boeing to review the status of the Joint Strike Fighter program. Other JSF partner countries represented were Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway and The Netherlands.
Over a three-day period, the government's JSF Program Office conducted the final phase of its review of the Boeing design for the operational JSF and the company's progress in building two X-32 demonstrator aircraft, as well as design, build and support processes. The government also reviewed company progress in other risk-reducing flight and ground demonstrations in support of JSF development.
"The Boeing JSF One Team is continuing to meet -- and in many areas exceed -- our own expectations for high-performance," said Frank Statkus, Boeing vice president and JSF general manager. "This review once again provided the opportunity for us to demonstrate the strong design and build processes that we're using every day. We are executing our contract as promised.
"Our processes are proving that we can meet the aggressive JSF affordability targets and that our X-32 concept demonstrator aircraft and our technology-maturation programs will reduce risk in the next phase of JSF," Statkus said.
As part of the design review, Boeing presented its configuration update, referred to as -374.
"The -374 configuration is the next step in our maturation plan for the operational JSF," said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing JSF weapon system director. "It represents an evolutionary refinement of our operational aircraft design. We provided the government substantial supporting data that confirms our ability to meet both affordability and warfighting-capability targets."
Risk-reduction initiatives, such as an avionics flying laboratory, a full-scale pole model for stealth testing, a full-mission simulator and a virtual-reality supportability lab, demonstrated that Boeing is managing the integration of technology in a way that will give the armed services a combat edge while ensuring the weapon system is reliable and stays within strict cost limits.
The avionics flying lab is a modified Boeing 737 that begins airborne testing of JSF avionics next month. The full-scale pole model will help validate the airplane's stealth technology. The full-mission simulator continues to refine integrated cockpit, weapons and mission-systems features with input from U.S. and international pilots. The supportability lab is demonstrating technologies that will significantly reduce the total ownership cost of the JSF.
Boeing is competing to build the JSF under a four-year U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and U.K. Royal Navy and Air Force concept demonstration phase contract, which includes definition of the preferred weapon system concept -- the operational JSF. Boeing is the world's largest producer of fighter aircraft.