Introducing the X-32 Stealth Fighter (The Plane That Could Have Replaced the F-35)
Key point: "Overall, it is very likely the Boeing would have run into the same sort of technical hiccups, cost overruns and delays as Lockheed did on the X-32".
In October 26, 2001, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that Lockheed Martin’s X-35 had won the Joint Strike Fighter contest over Boeing’s X-32.
The win secured Lockheed’s future as the manufacturer for all of America’s fifth-generation fighter platforms. But Lockheed’s resultant F-35 has suffered myriad delay, technical glitches, unrecoverable technical shortfalls and massive cost overruns.
Already the largest ever defense program with an estimated price tag of $233 billion in 2001 for a total of 2,866 aircraft, the F-35 program is now estimated to cost more than $391 billion for 2,457 jets, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Moreover, while the short-takeoff vertical landing F-35B was originally projected to achieve initial operational capability with the U.S. Marines in 2010, it only reached that milestone in 2015—five years late. Meanwhile, the conventional F-35A and the F-35C carrier variant were both slated to achieve initial operational capability with Block 3 software in 2012—but that software block is now scheduled to be delivered for operational testing in 2017 at the earliest.
Would Boeing have done any better? Hard to say—the Joint Strike Fighter was always a technically challenging and extraordinarily ambitious program. It is likely that Boeing would have run into similar but different technical and budgetary problems. The fundamental issue with the Joint Strike Fighter was that is was always an overambitious program to replace multiple specialized types with one aircraft in the hope that it could perform every role equally well. The result is predictably a jack-of-all-trades but master of none.
One of the main reasons why Lockheed Martin’s design was selected over Boeing’s was because the X-32’s direct lift system—which uses engine thrust to lift the aircraft—is prone to pop stalls. That’s a phenomenon where hot exhaust gases are reingested into the engine causing a power loss. There were also questions as to whether the engine would be powerful enough to lift a fully operational F-32—the prototype had to have parts removed to ensure it would fly. It probably didn’t help Boeing’s case that it had to redesign the X-32 to meet the modified JSF requirements. An operational F-32 had a very different configuration from the X-32.
Even if Boeing managed to solve the airframe issue, they would have had to deal with the extremely complex sensor fusion software. The software was always going to be a challenge under the best of circumstances. The only edge Boeing had was that it had developed the Lockheed Martin F-22’s avionics package—but the JSF is much more complex.
Overall, it is very likely the Boeing would have run into the same sort of technical hiccups, cost overruns and delays as Lockheed did on the X-32. Lockheed mismanaged the F-35 program to an extent, but the Pentagon’s requirements for a all-in-one wonder plane is what caused the programs problems. With either company, the JSF program was almost certainly going to be late and over budget—it just a question of by what margin.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46754.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
jnkewa7772 days ago
You can watch the whole x32 story on YouTube and it's a lot easier to understand than this article...
Chris2 days ago
The F-32 couldn't be repaired. The entire upper wing/fuselage surface had to be built in one go, and Boeing couldn't figure out how to build it without flaws/voids in the composite layup. Even worse, if there was any damage to the surface, there was no way to FIX it. So, you'd end up throwing out the fuselage of the aircraft every time you had a hailstorm.
Aircraft are now too complex to design.
Robert2 days ago
The NAVY & AIR FORCE need to talk! There are cost savings in efficiencies of using the same plane!!!
SM2 days ago
X32 was a Boeing proposal, the F35 is the Lockheed Martin proposal and the X-35 won the contract. There is no replacing the X35 with the X32, it was two companies proposing next gen fighters and the X35 won.
Charles2 days ago
The X32 money should be invested in the enhancement of our already existing arsenal. Our present level of fire-power is more than adequate to defend our nation against an attack from any aggressor.
Mike H2 days ago
Seems like they dust off this article every few months and slap a new date on it.
Steve2 days ago
The "X-32" didn't even come close to meeting early flight trial requirements. To get the aircraft to accomplish a vertical takeoff they had to take parts off to lighten the aircraft.
Jeezy2 days ago
Now you know why we have a debt/deficit problem
Haha. Boeing's X-32B couldn't hover at sea level without a headwind,and having parts removed and other parts "fixed" to reduce weight. (Air cool and dense. Lockheed did it in the California high desert.) This is not a slam against Boeing, but the engine company couldn't deliver on the thrust they promised. Aircraft gain weight as their designs mature. How would that have faired with an F-32 airplane.
Canned Heat2 days ago
We shouldn't be paying for cost overruns.
A2 days ago
You can tell Boeing exec's are wasting money again trying to buy good press! The X32 was not stealth, could not fly, and overall poorly designed. If the writer could find a picture of the prototype flying I would be extremely suprised!
ALL government programs go over budget and past deadlines . Particularly military ones . Please refer to a single one that hasn't .
Anonymous18 hours ago
Considering Boeing BOTCHED the KC-46 contract and is over $3 BILLION in the hole
melting snowFAKEs2 days ago
what happened???....it was to small, carried less then the 35 and had design problems....
John16 hours ago
Doesn't anyone proof read this stuff before putting it out. Obviously not. Was this written by a 4 year old.
steve3 hours ago
the worst part is china says none of usa planes are stealth.
Ooh Rah21 hours ago
It's no different than any other aircraft designed by either company.Imageworldofaviation
David8 hours ago
The F35 is going to turn out to be the biggest most expensive turd the US mitary ever invested in.
Dale15 hours ago
This is nice we’re discussing something for 2001 and Russia is putting out massive new weapons this year. Thank you ohblowme and Bush for making us number three in the world vs number one.
Boeing is trying to get back in the fighter aircraft business
Ask Yahoo why they post stories from divisive "National Interest". Only Russian spies are interested in this topic.
jh4 hours ago
This article was outsourced to be written in India.Saved a ton of money.Way to go Yahoo.
Cmdr7 hours ago
Will the Trump conversion to Coal power hurt the performance?
Jason19 hours ago
A 5-year-old wrote this article.
Jam8 hours ago
Looks like concept art from the 1950's.
Phillip2 days ago
Cost of X32 = cost of F35 x 10
X32的成本= F35 x10
hanger2 days ago
Boeing couldn't even deliver a tanker, baised on their own airframe on time, what makes you think that they could do it with a clean sheet design? All these defense contractors are ripping off American taxpayer
The U.S. has the military power to easily defeat the entire planet . I like it that way .
StevenB15 minutes ago
Im sure cash kickbacks to certain people are the problem.
Edward6 hours ago
Even less maneuverable than the F35.
Pilots don't like to fly ugly planes, and the X-32 was a ugly as they come.
antal2 days ago
Boeing designed a plane that was just to ugly.
gregory9 hours ago
That design was junk....