Lockheed Martin has mapped out a 90-month engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) programme for its Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) contender that gives partners Northrop Grumman and British Aerospace a share of almost one-third of the work.

Under a newly ratified three-way agreement, Northrop Grumman and BAe will have ended up with around 17% and 12% shares of EMD, respectively, with Lockheed Martin retaining the balance. "Our intent is that company responsibilities for EMD will be their production responsibilities. I don't anticipate any major changes," says Bob Bolz, Lockheed Martin JSF director EMD.

Lockheed Martin's main concerns will be for overall airframe, avionics and weapon system integration, as well as for support and training systems.

It will design and manufacture the JSF's wing and forward fuselage and assemble the aircraft at Fort Worth. Other areas will include stealth and composite applications, with the Skunk Works supplying wing and stabiliser leading and trailing edges.

Northrop Grumman will develop and produce the fighter's centre fuselage and weapons bay doors, including the design and integration of subsystems. It will share in the JSF's mission system software, support ground and flight testing and low observable development, as well as develop the carrier (CV) version's flight control software.

BAe's share will comprise the JSF's aft fuselage, empennage and wing folds for the CV and UK short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) versions. It will have responsibility for all three versions' fuel systems and crew life support and escape systems.

The UK company will be heavily involved in static and flight testing of the STOVL version, developing control laws and supporting powerplant integration.

The three partners have also identified potential suppliers from among some of the seven countries that have signed as low-level participants in the current concept demonstration phase. The programme is a US/UK venture.

EMD is scheduled to begin around 1 April, 2001, once a final JSF selection is made. If successful (the other competitor is Boeing), Lockheed Martin plans a seven-and-half-year development effort, with the first of 10-11 JSF prototypes flying around 42 months from the beginning of EMD.

Work will start with the conventional take-off version for the US Air Force, followed by the STOVL and finally the CV version. A yet-to-be determined baseline mission capable aircraft will be ready for delivery in late 2008.

Source: Flight International