Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

The USA is drawing up plans for international participation in development of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). A strategy is scheduled to be completed by year end, says JSF programme director Maj Gen Leslie Kenne.

"Informal discussions on what they might expect" have been held with existing international participants in the current JSF concept demonstration phase, Kenne says. These include the UK, which is the only full collaborative partner, and Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, which together joined the programme as a single associate member. Canada has observer status, and negotiations are under way for Australia and Italy to take on similar roles, she says.

A draft US strategy on international participation in the engineering and manufacturing development programme, to begin in 2001, is being prepared and will be discussed with the partners, Kenne says. She declines to reveal any details of the likely strategy, including whether participation will be tied to a firm commitment to buy the aircraft.

The UK's $200 million contribution to the $2 billion concept demonstration programme has secured the Royal Navy the ability to influence the JSF requirements definition process, which is to be completed in December 1999. The JSF is the RN's preferred solution to its requirement for a follow-on to the British Aerospace Sea Harrier F/A2, but no decision has been made to buy the aircraft.

As an associate member, the Denmark/Netherlands/Norway group has access to information enabling it to determine whether the JSF will meet its requirements for a replacement for the Lockheed Martin F-16. Kenne says the group also has the ability to comment on the JSF operational requirements as they are defined.

Despite the agreements, no requirement for workshare has been placed on the two JSF design teams, led by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Both have placed "competitively awarded" contracts with European companies.

Source: Flight International