Joint Strike Fighter : How to Build a Better Fighter with Less Money Essay

Joint Strike Fighter : How to Build a Better Fighter with Less Money Essay

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In 1939 Great Britain was in desperate need of a fighter that had the ability to escort bombers deep into enemy territory. In response to this need, North American Aviation developed what would become known as the P-51 Mustang. Between the years of 1940-1945 North American Aviation manufactured over 15,000 North American P-51 Mustangs for both Great Britain and the United States. Over the span of just six years, North American designed, tested and produced enough P-51 Mustangs to change the course of the air war in Europe (MustangMustangs). At a cost of about $500,000 for each Mustang in 2002 dollars (remember, these are just basic propeller driven airplanes with a machine gun), it is no surprise that defense spending during these years was approximately 90% of the total federal budget (Cordesman, 1999). Today, defense spending makes up about 15% of the total federal budget. Gone are the days of the P-51 Mustang as new weapon systems get more and more expensive and money gets tighter and tighter. Even during times of crisis, the United States can no longer have the "money is no object" mentality when it comes to defense spending. As events such as the terrorist attack on our country demand a greater military presence across the globe, our aging fleet of aircraft is beginning to take the toll. All four branches of the armed services are in urgent need of updated fighter aircraft, but funding such a venture would be impossible with the traditional approach of acquisition. The military today is facing the same challenges faced by many of the worlds leading corporations - it must somehow cut cost without sacrificing the quality of the product. The military believes it has found an answer in the Joint Strike Fighter (J...


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...er 15, 2002, from http://www.p51.mustangsmustangs.com/p51.shtml

Merriam-Webster Online. (2002). The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary Online. Retrieved September 15, 2002, from http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary

Perry, W.J. (1996, November). DOD News Briefing. Retrieved September 15, 2002, from http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov1996/t111696_t1116jsf.html

Stout, J.W. (1998, March). Lockheed Martin Expands Scope of Technology Demonstration Contract for Joint Strike Fighter. Retrieved September 18, 2002, from http://www.1maeronautics.com/news/programnews/combat_air/x35/x35_98/

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