Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge Jr. announced this afternoon the decision to proceed with the Joint Strike Fighter program. This approval will move the program to the next phase, the System Development and Demonstration phase. The Secretary of the Air Force James G. Roche announced the selection of Lockheed Martin teamed with Northrop Grumman and BAE to develop and then produce the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. The contract, for $18,981,928,201, will produce aircraft to be used by the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines, as well as the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and Navy.
Also, Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., has been awarded a contract for more than $4 billion to develop the F135 propulsion system. This contract will cover ground and flight testing and production qualification of the Pratt & Whitney propulsion system.
The Joint Strike Fighter acquisition strategy also calls for the development of two propulsion systems. The Pratt & Whitney system will compete, in production, with one developed by the team of General Electric and Rolls Royce. GE/RR are expected to receive a contract for the next phase of development of that system in the next few weeks. The P&W and GE/RR engines will be physically and functionally interchangeable in both the aircraft and support systems. All JSF aircraft variants will be able to use either engine. The competition starts in fiscal 2011 and continues through the life of the program to reduce risks.
The Joint Strike Fighter is a multi-Service/international cooperation warplane. The cornerstone of the program is affordability based on a next-generation, multi-role strike fighter aircraft that will have a 70 to 90 percent commonality factor for all the variants, significantly reducing manufacturing, support and training costs. First delivery of operational aircraft is anticipated in fiscal 2008.
During this Systems Development and Demonstration phase, the program will focus on developing a family of strike aircraft that significantly reduces life-cycle cost, while meeting the operational requirements for the Services. The requirements represent a balanced approach to affordability, lethality, survivability and supportability. The program will use a phased block approach that addresses aircraft and weapons integration and provides a validated and verified air system for the Service Initial Operational Capability requirements. Also during this phase of the contract Lockheed Martin teamed with Northrop Grumman and BAE will implement innovative management and business practices focusing on achieving affordable unit flyaway costs and reduced life-cycle cost for future production of the Joint Strike Fighter.
The source selection culminates a highly successful joint process with the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and United Kingdom Ministry of Defence. A number of agreements between the U.S. and foreign governments are in place for this phase of the program.
The United Kingdom became a full collaborative partner in the program in 1995. Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Canada and Italy subsequently joined the program as cooperative partners. Singapore, Turkey and Israel are foreign military sales participants for this phase. The United Kingdom has signed an agreement to participate in the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program. Agreements with additional countries for SDD participation are in progress.
For the U.S. Navy, the JSF will be used in a "first day" of war, as a survivable strike fighter aircraft to complement F/A-18E/F. The U.S. Air Force will employ it as a multirole aircraft, primary-air-to-ground, which will replace the F-16 and A-10 and to complement the F-22. The Marine Corps will use the Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft to replace the AV-8B and F/A-18A/C/D. The United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force multirole aircraft will replace the Sea Harrier and GR7.
Additional information on the Joint Strike Fighter Program can be found on the web at http://www.jsf.mil. Further information on the contract announcement can be accessed at http://www.defenselink.mil/contracts/2001/c10262001_ct544-01.html.