The X-32A (Boeing
) and the X-35A (Lockheed Martin
) are both in the running to be the next US strike fighter
multi-role aircraft. The two manufacturers are competing for the contract to build an aircraft that can be used by the USAF
, and USMC
. The winning design is expected to the three services as a fighter
aircraft that can meet the needs of each branch while keeping costs to a minimum. The shared airframe
will reduce maintenance
and upkeep costs by making spare parts more easily accessible. Both companies claim at least an 80% commonality among the different variations.
The USAF version will be a conventional takeoff and landing that will replace the F-16 and the A-10 Thunderbolt II while complementing the F-22 Raptor.
The Navy wants an aircraft carrier based strike fighter to complement the F-18 and replace the A-6, which is already out of service (and doing a great job as a man-made reef off the coast of Florida).
The USMC wants a short takeoff and vertical landing fighter to replace the AV-8B Harrier and the F-18 Hornet.
Each aircraft looks like the little brother to the F-22, featuring a combination of stealth technology and traditional design. Each plane is a delta wing, much like the late 1970's and 1980's Saabs. They are both sleek aircraft, I would want one in my driveway.
We can expect a decision by the DOD sometime in 2001
As soon as I find out the version that gets the contract I will post it here and create a dedicated node. Any relevant information can be sent to me for posting. In the mean time enjoy
All information courtesy of Air and Space magazine, January 2001.
Update As you probably know by the other writeups in this node, the X-35 won the contract and is now in production as the F-35 Joint Tactical Strike Fighter. I still don't know what name the aircraft will be given (Raptor, Eagle, etc.)