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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 187-97
April 18, 1997

JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER AGREEMENT SIGNED

Two more European nations joined the United States and United Kingdom effort to design and build the next generation strike fighter aircraft. In a ceremony April 16 at Soesterberg Air Base, The Netherlands, defense officials from Norway, the Netherlands and the United States signed a Joint Strike Fighter Requirements Validation Memorandum of Agreement. A third member, Denmark, has not yet completed its decision process but the option will be open for Denmark to sign the MOA later this spring.

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Paul G. Kaminski signed the agreement on behalf of the United States. This Joint Strike Fighter MOA will build on the success of our F-16 program. JSF promotes international collaboration in research, development, acquisition and equipment of our forces. At the same time, it works toward our goals in NATO of standardization, rationalization, and interoperability of our equipment while making use of our limited budgets to achieve our economies of scale, he said at the signing.

The European nations will participate as associate partners in the requirements validation project during the concept demonstration phase of the JSF program. Under this project, the nations will evaluate the fighter's capabilities in meeting their forces' future mission requirements.

With participation of Denmark, the three countries are expected to contribute a total $32.2 million for the concept demonstration phase.

In December 1995, the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding as a collaborative partner in developing the aircraft with the United States and is contributing $200 million toward the program. The Royal Navy plans to replace the aging STOL Sea Harrier with a short take-off and vertical landing version of the JSF.

The Joint Strike Fighter is expected to become operational by 2008 and will be the next generation strike fighter for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and allied forces. Boeing and Lockheed-Martin are scheduled to conduct their design fly-offs in 2000. The program employs integrated teams of warfighters and technologists to achieve an affordable balance of cost and performance.

The JSF program is managed by Rear Adm. Craig E. Steidle. Additional information on the Joint Strike Fighter program can be obtained electronically at http://www.jast.mil.

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