JSF: JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER OR JUST SIMPLE FAILURE ANALYZING THE F-35S JOINT ACQUISITION MODEL
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is Americas fifth-generation replacement to nearly its entire fleet of fourth-generation aircraft. Until the F-35, individual branches of the Department of Defense acquired fighter aircraft separately, though after acquisition several fighter aircraft found themselves utilized by more than one branch of the military. This traditional acquisition model contrasts with the joint model used by the F-35, wherein the Air Force, Navy, and Marines all are involved in the acquisition of the aircraft, with their unique requirements incorporated into the design from day one. This paper analyzes how the joint acquisition model affected the costs, timeline, and performance of the F-35. The joint model failed to provide expected cost savings and resulted in performance trade-offs however, it also prevented the taxpayer from having to fund the development of other, similar fighters for all the services, saved the time otherwise required to develop complex software, and created enough backers across the Department of Defense that it overcame the inevitable criticisms associated with large acquisition projects. With modifications to prevent the strict requirement for a high degree of common parts, the joint acquisition model is suitable for use on future acquisition projects.
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies