Joint Strike Fighter (JSF): Potential National Security Questions Pertaining to a Single Production Line [April 10, 2002]   [open pdf - 111KB]

From the Document: "The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is intended to develop and build a family of new-generation tactical combat aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Navy, and Britain's Royal Navy. As now projected, the JSF will become the U.S. Defense Department's (DoD) largest ever acquisition program in terms of future cost and number of aircraft to be produced. A controversial aspect of the JSF program has been the 'winner-take-all' approach that DoD used to award the development and demonstration contract. On October 26, 2001, senior DoD officials announced that a team led by Lockheed Martin (and composed of Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems) had beaten a team led by the Boeing Company, winning the exclusive rights to enter the JSF program's system development and demonstration (SDD) phase, and to build all 2,912 JSF aircraft. Some observers contend that DoD's 'winner-take-all' approach to JSF production could have negative implications for the defense industrial base and U.S. national security. […] Observers tend to agree that maintaining combat aircraft design capabilities is more critical and more difficult than maintaining production capabilities. Yet, there is disagreement about whether design capabilities can be maintained in the absence of continued work. Also, many argue that other platforms, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, could supplant manned combat aircraft in the post-JSF future. Other observers disagree, and argue that it is likely that DoD will require a manned combat aircraft after JSF, if only for niche missions."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31360
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