Now that Lockheed Martin has performed so admirably on the F-35 program, five years behind schedule and close to 100 percent over budget, Boeing partisans can renew their claims that the Pentagon picked the wrong team to develop the Joint Strike Fighter.
“Whenever we hear about Lockheed’s difficulties with the JSF, we all look at each other, and say, “They didn’t pick the right product,’” said Cynthia Cole, a former flight test engineer on the Boeing program from 1997 through 2002. Cole, now working outside Boeing, also was president of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace from 2006 through 2010.
In particular, Boeing engineers mutter about the STOVL version. They claim that Boeing’s design, which relied on rerouting the thrust of the main engine, would have been more trouble-free than the Lockheed Martin design, which also includes a central shaft-driven fan.
But DoD Buzz suspects the Boeing folks might have had their own problems meeting wildly optimistic (and demanding) schedules and budgets.