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Old 10th Jul 2015, 20:37
  #6713 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: New Braunfels, TX
Age: 67
Posts: 1,954
Since Ken is once again following his "With due respect" by a string of insults, let's review his history lecture.

"Two forerunners of JSF were JAST (Joint Advanced Strike Technology) program and ASTOVL (Advanced STOVL - the Harrier replacement)"

Wrong. ASTOVL was long dead. It had been superseded by CALF, a nascent DARPA project already aimed at Marine, RN and USAF needs.
Oh my. I said at the outset that my synopsis was oversimplified. ASTOVL was the publicly acknowledged portion of the black project SSF (STOVL Strike Fighter) that was a collaboration between NASA and Skunk Works. SSF ran from 1987 thru 1994. ASTOVL/CALF ran concurrent with the later stages of SSF (93-94) and in various quarters CALF was also called JAF (Joint Attack Fighter). ASTOVL/CALF came into being when Skunk Works successfully got USAF and USN to collaborate on SSF, and SSF started moving out of the black. In short, the white world cover story for the black world SSF program was called ASTOVL and was headed up by DARPA. And note that these are all programs for an aircraft optimized for the attack role, not dog fighting.

It was in 1994 when Congress passed the 1995 budget allocation legislation that Congress declared that ASTOVL be immediately merged into the JAST (Joint Advanced Strike Technology) program. JAST was effectively the forerunner for JSF, with a huge difference. JAST was a technology development program, designed to mature and do risk reduction for new technologies that would be applied to whatever program (whether USAF or USN) developed a new attack airframe. But by merging ASTOVL with JAST, what resulted was an aircraft development AND technology development program. It was this Congressional action that effectively killed ASTOVL and SSF, and moved everything out of the black world and into the public eye.

So the characterization that ASTOVL was "long dead" is both false and absurd. ASTOVL, JAST, and SSF all existed in 1994. Congressional legislation that year directed the merger of ASTOVL/SSF with JAST and did so by name, and effectively removed the black program cover from SSF. And it was that merger that effectively created JSF. And contrary to your history, all of this was was influenced by both MRF (which lasted until late 1993) and A/F-X, which lasted until Dec 31, 1993. Both MRF and A/F-X were merged into JAST in late 93/early 94. These were non-STOVL programs. Then CALF (Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter), another STOVL project, was merged with JAST. CALF was unique in that it started out as a STOVL design but then Paul Bevilaqua of Lockheed noted that when stripped of the lift fan, it would make a great conventional fighter. JAST was then merged with ASTOVL in late 94. The 93/94 period was extremely pivotal in the gestation of JSF, a program that effectively merged all those programs under a single umbrella. Indeed JSF inherited its dem/val fly off phase directly from A/F-X.

As for the rest, let's just say I disagree with the interpretation of history that was presented, much of which was as far off base as the above. For example MDC's loss. MDC's design was similar to what became Lockheed's design in that the STOVL variant had a swiveling main jet exhaust and a separate lift fan. The big difference was that MDCs lift fan was gas coupled and Lockheed's was mechanically coupled. The gas coupling scheme failed and MDC, with no time left to go to a mechanical coupling, proposed a separate lift engine for the STOVL variant. This proposal violated the "single engine" requirement imposed by Congress and MDC was out. Another example is the teaming. JSF initially also inherited the five teams that had been brought together for A/F-X, which were:

Lockheed/Boeing/General Dynamics
McDonnell Douglas/Vought
General Dynamics/McDonnell Douglas/Northrop

These teams eventually dissolved and/or were absorbed with all the aerospace mergers that were going on back then. This was whittled down to three for the first competition phase. In that phase the MDC/Northrop/BAE team got a late start, only agreeing on an aggressive high risk configuration after the other two had begun testing theirs, and they lost. And Lockheed won with what many called the lowest risk approach of the three. And clearly in this case "lowest risk" is very much relative because in absolute terms, the program was exceptionally ambitious and high risk.

Last edited by KenV; 10th Jul 2015 at 23:31. Reason: corrected several typos and added "lowest risk" statement
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