Assessing Competitive Strategies for the Joint Strike by John Birkler

By John Birkler

Safeguard policymakers within the U.S. anticipate that the Joint Strike Fighter will play a serious position in U.S. and allied army forces throughout the first half the century. the dept of Defense's present Joint Strike Fighter axquisition procedure is a winner-take-all festival pitting Lockeed Martin opposed to Boeing. This method has raised issues of even if pageant might be retained after Lockheed Martin or Boeing is chosen to start engineering and production improvement.

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Within the cost goals established by the government, but the way they do so is left up to them. Risk Reduction Early on, the JSF Program Office identified areas of relatively high technical and programmatic risk, and initiated programs to reduce risk. The main approach selected to manage risk was to fund numerous competitive hardware demonstration programs. One good example is the multifunction integrated radio frequency systems (MIRFS) program. The purpose of the MIRFS program was to encourage companies to develop lighter, much lower cost, active electronically scanned arrays (AESAs) for fire control radars.

Schedules also can lengthen because of the increased program complexity and increased bureaucratic involvement caused by competition. By lengthening schedules, competition carries the risk of raising program costs. Moreover, the risk of increased program length also is a disincentive to competition because there is usually a strong desire to deploy the system as rapidly as possible. During the production phase, the funding required to qualify a second, competitive source appears to pose less of a problem, at least for less-complex systems or components—perhaps because, by the time the program is in production, all major conceptual issues have long since been resolved.

The task is complicated particularly because little information or guidance can be drawn from the experience of other programs from lessons learned reports. For the most part, program managers must plan solely on the basis of their own experience. Some program managers need no more than their past experience; others’ lack of experience with the additional burden complicates planning. Competition during production introduces still other management complications. Qualifying a second producer after production has begun can be a major effort.

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