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Thread: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Auckland, New Zealand.

    Default Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..


    A lot of you are probably familiar with the four year battle between Boeing and Lockheed Martin to secure a USD$250 Billion contract with the U.S. military to supply a new joint strike fighter. In the end, Lockheed Martin won the contract. I saw an interesting show on National Geographic last night about it.

    The aircraft had to have stealth, fly super sonic and possess VTOL capabilities. It was interesting to see how the designs differed.

    The Boeing X32 was contravertial in shape (as you'll see in the link), but I actually really like it. It does grow on you. Although Boeing seemed ahead of its competition for most of the four years,
    there were two main design issues it seem to have.

    Firstly, air to air refueling was scrubbed during the initial development program as it was deemed to too dangerous. It used a conventional extendible probe to the side of the cockpit canopy. During testing, the fuel boom almost damaged some test sensors protruding from the nose of the aircraft. They were worried that the engine would ingest any dislodged parts. Also, for some reason the boom failed to secure properly and a large qty of fuel sprayed down the side of the aircraft.

    Secondly, the Boeing used a conventional VTOL system similiar to the Harrier in their jet. The problem was that during landing there was a risk that the engine might ingest its own super heated exhaust gases and essentially choke, resulting in a pop stall. This actually happened during testing. The upside of the system was its simplicity.
    Unfortunately (yes I am a Boeing addict), Boeing never illustrated that the aircraft could fly super sonic and transition from foward to vertical flight in its full configuration. They even had to remove 1500 pounds of cowling for VTOL testing.

    Althought the LM F-35 looked more conventional, its real strength came from its revolutionary VTOL system. It was supported by two coloums of thrust. The first was at the rear of the plane, where the exhaust nozzle was directed down. The second was a fan towards the front that was driven by an axle from the engine, and blew cool air from above the aircraft too below it. This protected the plane from the dreaded heated gas ingestion. The downside was that it was mecahnically much more complex, requiring a symphony of moving parts and doors.

    So what are your opinions? Did the US military make the right choice? I believe they did, because the F-35 just seemed more complete. Seeing these forums cotain a lot of people very knowledgeable in these areas, I thought I'd ask to see what others thought....



    Check out these links for additional info:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Denver, Colorado

    Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    X-32 looked awful!!! Where would the weapons go???? Im glad the X-35 won.

  3. Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    Lockheed deserved to win, they now what they were doing. I personally liked the the X-35 the look was a lot better. They used a sound design for the airframe and only went out on a limb with the lift fan.

    The big thing I did not like about the X-32 was the composite blended wing. It would have been a nightmare for maintenance. If there was a problem in certain parts of the fuselage they would have to pull off the wing to get to the part. It would have been worse if there was a problem in the wing itself. At least that is what I see from seeing the NOVA program today.

    With Lockheed winning they have probably used a lot of similar parts that the F/A-22 uses. This would make parts cheaper as the research has already been done.

    The decision to go with the X-35 was based on many more things that were not mentioned on the show. One thing not mentioned was how the two planes compaired to each other in radar cross section. This would have been a big factor, I feel Lockheed blew Boeing out of the water. There are things that are classified that went into the decision, and it seems that Lockheed is more trusted with these things.

  4. #4

    Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    And in the end it doesn't really matter since the F/A-22 is a joint Boeing/LMC project, and now so is the F-35.

    In other words - NO ONE COULD HAVE LOST IN THE END. :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Auckland, New Zealand.

    Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    I agree that LM deserved to win on the day, but a part of me still wished it had been Boeing.

    Call me crazy but for some reason I really like the look of the X-32. It is interesting to hear what was said about the compositite blended wing. I believe that pro of that shape of wing is a smaller radar signature, but I'm not entirely sure.

    One of the test pilots of the X-35 said the plane was so powerful it was like 'riding an explosion' thats flying ;)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Wood Dale, Illinois, United States.

    Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    The X-35 was truely and x-plane that pushed the bondaries of aviation. Lockheed/Northrop/BAe risked everything on the unproven shaft-driven vertical lift fan, and it paid off. Boeing might have gone with a riskier airframe, but they didn't push any boundaries. In order for Boeing's X-32 to have won, Lockheed's lift-fan would have had to fail.

    Another consideration was the economic impact. If Lockheed lost JSF, it was out of the airplane business. And since Northrop Grumman bought up pretty much every other defense industry when it quit the flying business, Lockheed didn't have much to go on to. Lockheed could have gone belly-up. Boeing could (and did) lose and still be around, not even the Phantom Works would need to be closed due to the work on Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs). Don't think for a minute that the DoD wasn't aware of that fact.

    Boeing had the cards stacked against it. If Boeing wanted to win, they needed to have made a far bigger gamble. They didn't, they lost.

    And unless something has changed recently, Lockheed hasn't given Boeing any peice of the F-35.

    John T.

  7. #7

    Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    Hmmmm, just got home, it's 1:30am, but if I remember, the X-35 won out like 1-2 years ago, hows this a new topic, or maybe its an old one, with a new post. My brain hurts. I squished a little coyote with a chevy cavalier.

  8. Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    The yjust aired the show about the competition between the two companies.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.

    Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    When something carrying enough weaponary to put a gaping whole in the solar system is flying towards you, who cares what it looks like? ;-)

    LMC did a nice job on the F-35 and sure, it looks 'pretty' :-roll, but I was sad to see Boeing's design lose. Still, as Mr. Trott has said earlier, Boeing are working with LMC anyway, so nobody loses at the end of the day.

  10. #10

    Default RE: Boeing X32 vs. Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint strike fighter..

    >And unless something has changed recently, Lockheed hasn't
    >given Boeing any peice of the F-35.

    Actually, had Lockheed lost the JSF contract the only reason they'd be out of the flying industry is because it would have been their FOURTH failure in a row. No one inside the DoD calls the F/A-22 a success because Lockheed has yet to me a single performance mark or cost requirement to date on it, and that was true even before the ATF competition was decided, which begs the question, why in the world did Lockheed, who'd failed miserably on the C-5 project as far as cost control and producing an aircraft that met the specifications and performance figures upon entry into service, and then failed on the L1011 by not insulating itself enough in case the ambitious new RB.211 failed to be produced on schedule (which they knew was a possibility) get the largest DoD contract at the time over a team of Northrop-Grumman and McDonnell Douglas that had not been given a new fighter contract in 15+ years, and had met or exceeded all cost and performance goals on their previous commercial and military ventures? And don't tell me it was the performance when the fact is the YF-23 met the YF-22 in all respects, and had a projected IOE now 10 years before the YF-22 because it used more off-the-shelf components *AND* it was near combat weight during the competition, unlike the YF-22 which at the time had only enough payload to carry the M61A1 or a 200 pound bomb, not both because it was using all experimental computers which were much larger than the off-the-shelf components MacDac/NG used for the YF-23 where they could.

    As a result of loosing the ATF competition, MacDac was bought out by Boeing (the failure of the MD-11 didn't help matters) and Northrop/Grumman had to liquidate its aviation assets to stay alive in the electronics side of things. Lockheed STILL has F-16s rolling off the line and making it money, it STILL has the C-130 rolling off the line making it money, it STILL has the Atlas V EELV in production for both Military and non-Military uses, it STILL has M1A2 Abrams tanks rolling off the GDLS lines and making money, it STILL has hundreds of logistics, equipment, and other secondary contracts with the DoD making it money. So, no, Lockheed was in *NO* threat of going under had it lost the JSF competition, and neither did Boeing. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either in Public Relations (including senior management) or they believe the BS that Lockheed put in the media to tryand make sure that they got the contract.

    As for Boeing getting part of the work for the F-35, right after the contract was awarded, some of Boeing's divisions got contracts for some of the electronic sub-systems of the aircraft because they will be the same systems as used on the F/A-22 that are being produced by Boeing for that aircraft. It's not a major share of the work, but Boeing is getting revenue off the production.

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