The Boeing Company's expertise in the aviation industry has spanned more than eight decades. The 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas allowed Boeing to take maximum advantage of McDonnell Douglas' extensive military airplane and fighter heritage to strengthen the Joint Strike Fighter team. This combined experience includes the F-22, F-15, F/A-18E/F and AV-8B. The company's other products and related services include commercial airplanes, helicopters, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, launch systems, and advanced information and communication systems. Boeing supports a fleet of more than 11,000 commercial jetliners and is experienced at adapting existing models to the changing needs of our customers.
Early in the program Boeing created the JSF One Team to design, integrate and assemble the right combination of structures and systems in a cost-effective manner and to successfully manage the large, complex endeavor. It is comprised of Boeing JSF employees across the United States, the Defense Department's JSF Program Office and 34 leading aerospace companies. Together, the Boeing JSF One Team has developed a Preferred Weapon System Concept for the JSF that is highly competitive in the four most important success criteria: affordability, lethality, supportability and survivability.
Since the earliest days of its development, the Boeing design has withstood a rigorous testing program culminating in more than 40,000 hours of testing. Results have been outstanding. Engineers tested and validated the Boeing JSF avionics concept aboard a modified 737 avionics flying laboratory. The stealth characteristics of the JSF were tested with a high-fidelity, full-scale aircraft model. Several full mission simulations have validated the advanced avionics that JSF pilots will use to successfully carry out their missions.
Using lean manufacturing and design processes, Boeing has built two concept demonstrator aircraft, designated X-32, to meet specific demonstration criteria set forth by the government. Many of the processes were developed during the JSF program and some were processes used to produce the latest Boeing commercial jetliners.
The X-32A concept demonstrator made its first flight on Sept. 18, 2000, from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The plane completed its flight-test program on Feb. 3, 2001. The X-32B made its first flight March 29, 2001, entering a four-month test program to validate the Boeing direct-lift approach to STOVL flight.
The JSF must be adaptable for use in several military services. The U.S. Air Force needs a low-cost, conventional takeoff and landing, or CTOL, airplane to replace the F-16 and A-10, and to complement the F-22A Raptor. The Air Force plans to buy 1,763 of the aircraft. The U.S. Navy wants a carrier-based strike fighter to complement the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and to replace the A-6, which already has left the inventory. The Navy needs a first-day-of-the-war survivable strike aircraft and plans to purchase 480 JSF aircraft. The U.S. Marine Corps wants a short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft to replace its AV-8B Harrier and F/A-18 Hornet so it can transition to an all-STOVL strike force early in the 21st century. The U.K. Royal Navy and Royal Air Force require a STOVL aircraft to replace their aging Sea Harrier and GR.7, respectively. The Marine Corps is scheduled to acquire 609, while the U.K. Royal Navy will purchase 60 and the Royal Air Force plans to buy 90 aircraft.