The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) preliminary design review (PDR) has started at component system level with the intention of achieving a final review of the overall air-vehicle system in March. This marks the first major system development and demonstration milestone and follows the freezing of the aircraft's mould lines.

The initial PDR has begun at the supplier level with one of the first having been conducted last month at Harris, says Peter Shaw, F-35 deputy programme manager at Northrop Grumman. The company is designing and developing the JSF host avionics architecture into which electronic systems will be plugged. Harris is also responsible for image processing and digital map software, fibre-optic components and interconnectors, and high-speed communications datalinks.

Reviews will continue until March, building to a total PDR of the F-35 air-vehicle structure, airframe systems and mission systems.

PDR completion clears the way for the release of build-to-print work packages, the start of long lead fabrication and a final critical design review of the conventional take-off landing and short take-off vertical landing versions in 2004 and the larger carrier version the following year.

Source: Flight International