F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Essay

2827 WordsMay 8, 201112 Pages
F-35: The Joint Strike Fighter of the Future Since the beginning of World War I, key military analysts have begun to realize the importance of airpower over the battlefield. It has been said throughout the years that “he who controls the air, also controls the battlefield”. Though some have disputed this statement, the truth has always been proven to analysts after the war when evaluations can be made. The three branches of military that currently use fighter/bomber aircraft are the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. During the military’s vast aviation history, all three branches of service have used separate aircraft. In his book “Ultimate Fighter”, Bill Sweetman, an experienced aviation journalist, states that “if there was one…show more content…
Boeing’s CDA (Concept Demonstration Aircraft) completely broke the mold with their design, which was very different to say the least. Their X-32 aircraft’s skin was composed of a material known as a “thermoplastic matrix”, which was a composite material embedded in an epoxy resin. When heated, this material undergoes a chemical reaction, thus forming a “highly rigid component” (Sweetman 64). This composite material would give the designers the ability to re-heat and re-shape the wing without having to start over from the beginning. Boeing insisted on using this kind of material because it provided them a way to cut cost. This kind of philosophy, accompanied with their lack of experience in building military aircraft, cost them in the end. After months of demonstrations between both CDA‘s, it was Lockheed Martin’s X-35 that was chosen due to their lift-fan design. The advantage of the lift-fan design, when compared to Boeing’s vectored thrust approach, was that it provided more excess power (F-35 Lightning II). With the 126-month, $13 billion contract in hand, the clock was now running for Lockheed Martin to begin production on the aircraft (Sweetman 95). Pete Aldridge, the Pentagon’s Acquisition Chief, made the announcement to reporters who the winner was. During the press conference, Aldridge was asked by a reporter
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