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The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program

1.1 Purpose

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, formerly the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) Program, is the Department of Defense's focal point for defining affordable next generation strike aircraft weapon systems for the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and our allies. The focus of the program is affordability -- reducing the development cost, production cost, and cost of ownership of the JSF family of aircraft. The program is accomplishing this by facilitating the Services' development of fully validated, affordable operational requirements, and lowering risk by investing in and demonstrating key leveraging technologies and operational concepts prior to the start of Engineering and Manufacturing Development (E&MD) of the JSF in 2001.

The JSF will fulfill stated Service needs as follows:

USN -- first day of war, survivable strike fighter aircraft to complement F/A-18E/F

USAF -- multirole aircraft (primary-air-to-ground) to replace the F-16 and A-10

USMC -- STOVL aircraft to replace the AV-8B and F/A-18

United Kingdom Royal Navy -- STOVL aircraft to replace the Sea Harrier.

1.2 Background
The Secretary of Defense's Bottom-Up Review (BUR) in 1993 acknowledged the Services' need to affordably replace their aging strike assets in order to maintain the nation's combat technological edge, and consequently established the JAST Program. The program is jointly manned and funded. Subsequent FY 1995 legislation merged the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) ASTOVL program with the JAST Program, and ARPA now provides personnel and funding for JSF Program execution. The United Kingdom Royal Navy is committing $200 million to the Concept Demonstration Phase of the Program, extending a collaboration begun under the ARPA ASTOVL program. Foreign participation is expected to increase.

1.3 Process
The program employs integrated teams of warfighters and technologists to achieve an affordable balance of cost and performance for future strike systems. The government and industry team is working well together in identifying leveraging technologies, necessary demonstration plans to control risk, and new ways of doing business that reduce cost and meet the joint needs of the USN, USMC, and USAF.  

1.3.1 Requirements Definition
The JSF Program Office is facilitating the Services' requirements definition efforts. Integrated Product Teams of warfighters and technologists use the disciplined strategy-to-task process supported by an extensive underpinning of modeling, simulation, and analysis to help the Services develop a set of requirements with maximum focus on jointness consistent with technology's ability to support them affordably. Industry is a full participant on these teams. This emphasis on early interaction of the warfighter and the developer ensures cost versus performance trades are made early when they can most influence weapon system cost.


1.3.2 Technology Maturation
Numerous critical, high leverage Technology Maturation demonstrations are being pursued to reduce risk prior to entering E&MD and lower the life cycle cost (LCC) of the JSF. The demonstration results are made available to all program industry participants. Achievement of affordability objectives for the prime contractors' preferred weapon system concepts (PWSC) depends on availability of these technologies for platform incorporation in E&MD and production.

1.3.3 Concept Demonstration
Concept Demonstration efforts commence in early FY 1997. Two contractor teams will demonstrate commonality and modularity, STOVL hover and transition, and low speed handling qualities of their concepts for a multi-Service family of strike aircraft.

1.3.4 Acquisition Streamlining
The JSF Program continues its role as a leader in the area of DOD acquisition streamlining and reform and use of "paperless" processes. It continues to emphasize electronic processes as the standard means of communication and exploits the Internet  for efficient, real-time dissemination of program information, including information related to program procurement solicitations.

1.4.1 Program Status

The JAST Program completed its Concept Exploration Phase in December 1994. The results underscored the benefit of Service commonality for achieving significant cost savings. The key conclusion was that a family of aircraft can meet tri-Service needs, with overall potential LCC savings of 33-55%. The degree of Service commonality varies between 70% and 90% with individual designs, bringing with it the cost benefits of a common depot, commonly supported logistics trail, and increased joint-Service interoperability.

The program is now nearing completion of the Concept Development Phase. This phase focused on (1) developing aircraft system designs that take advantage of the "family of aircraft" concept and (2) defining the necessary leveraging technology demonstrations that will lower risk prior to entering E&MD of the JSF.

1.4.2 Program Plans
The Concept Demonstration Phase commences in early FY 1997 following a competitive downselect from three weapon system concept teams to two. This phase will feature flying concept demonstrators, concept-unique ground and flight demonstrations, and continued refinement of the contractors' preferred weapon system concepts. Each winning contractor team defines those demonstrations it believes are crucial for its concept vis a vis providing concept assessment and insuring a low risk technology transition to E&MD. Risk mitigating Technology Maturation demonstrations will continue as well. The Services' completion of a Joint Operational Requirements Document (JORD) is anticipated in FY 1999. E&MD of the Joint Strike Fighter program commences in FY 2001. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the resulting aircraft variants is anticipated circa 2010.

1.5 Program Impact
The government and industry team is converging on a design concept for a family of strike aircraft weapon systems which, coupled with the other technology "building blocks," will yield continued technological superiority for our warfighters but much more affordably. In order to meet the fiscal and threat demands of the next century, the Department of Defense clearly recognizes the nation must "neck-down" its tactical air forces with a focus on jointness and commonality. The Joint Strike Fighter will make that goal achievable.

Take me to Part II JSF Requirements Definition

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