The f-35 joint strike fighter program is the U.S largest defense plan with substantial costs on the taxpayer. The U.S. leads the program with assistance from the U.K., Denmark, Turkey, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, and Australia. The program promises to manufacture three variants of F-35 fighter crafts for the marine, air force, and navy. The new aircraft will have significant advancements in military abilities. Similar to other high tech programs, the developers have surpassed the original budget, and they have put the plan behind schedule with more than seven years. Developers have put measures to ensure that the craft is “stealthy” or “low-observable” (Charette 4). Such a characteristic ensures enemies do not detect the aircraft, making it difficult for enemies to attack during wars.
The Development Model for the F-35
The F-35 fighter is supposed to surpass the abilities of any other fighter craft in the world so that it provides the U.S. with immunity from potential attacks. To equip the plane with all the properties that the client has requested, the responsible developers should have a model to guide them through the development procedure. A reliable model should describe the complete process from product development to consumption and feedback from the consumers. Engineers should develop the model in a way that reflects an improvement on the already existing fighters. The process of inventing a development model for F35 comprises of the following steps:
The first stage is to perform an opportunity scan. At this stage, Lockheed Martin should focus on checking improvement opportunities for the previous fighters. At this stage, the manufacturer needs to investigate with regard the abilities of potential F-35 competitors, particularly the Russia’s T-50 and China’s J-31 stealth fighters. It should be more effective than its potential adversaries in terms of maneuverability, air-air lethality, and its overall performance in all terrains. Moreover, the product should have adequate stealth capabilities to succeed at its war missions. To have these abilities, the product will have sophisticated information systems that would allow the operators to observe the environment and detect threats.
The ability of the craft to remain undetected provides soldiers with an opportunity for “first look, first shot, and first kill” (Charette 6). Besides, the F-35 variants should be customized according to expected fighting environments. The F-35 option for the Navy will have the abilities to take off on short distances and land vertically. Therefore, it should have nozzles that protrude to the wings and fans behind the cockpit. Regarding the engine design, the fighter will provide interchangeable engine option to boost its performance levels.
The second stage would be concept testing. The manufacturer should provide the customers with a detailed description of the product so that they contribute their views and assess their attitudes on the same. Lockheed Martin needs to communicate the benefits and attributes of F-35 for the consumer to determine its relevance and ability to serve the intended purposes. The builders should compare the F-35 concept to its potential rivals do decide whether or not the product has leverage over competitors.
Prototype Development, Test, and Launch
In the prototype development stage, Lockheed Martin should focus on preparing F35 in a way that demonstrates the ability of the craft resolving the client’s problem. The project leaders should examine and proof product concepts, which should be relayed to the development team, managers, and sponsors. The development team should actualize the product concepts per the client requests. Upon development, both the project team and the consumer should test the prototype abilities to perform according to the manufacturer’s promises. If the builders adhere to the proposed model, the Pentagon as the program sponsor should prefer F-35 to other fighters due to its benefits. If the product is free from operational flaws, the maker should organize a launching date.
On its development cycle, the project team seeks to equip F-35 with unprecedented stealth mode capabilities. Consequently, the fighter will have approximately 8, 000, 000 lines of software codes. The feature allow the plane to perform five times better than the top 5 word’s fifth-generation fighters. However, the complex information system comes at a cost. The avionics system on the craft’s system may present particular development risks, as the developers have not used such a complex system before.
Proposal #1: The Company should not launch the craft before the builders become acquainted with large-scale implementation of avionics system in the plane. Effectiveness in installing the system could be accomplished after the manufacturer successfully deploys a high number of these systems correctly.
Proposal #2: The Company should work together with the builders of F35 predecessors in resolving the software issues. The F22 development team encountered significant software issues with the same avionics system. Lockheed Martins should share experiences with F-22 developers to address the problems within an acceptable period.
Proposal #3: Lockheed Martins should form a team of professionals in all the manufacturing sites to allow bug fixes to the software. The team should continue on the tasks post-delivery to improve reliability by eliminating potential instances of software failure.
The F-35 joint strike fighter development will have significant cost on taxpayers. Despite the functional and budgetary challenges that Lockheed Martins has faced, the program should proceed because the product would allow the U.S. to maintain its control over the world as the superpower. The U.S. should focus on matters of self-defense, as it is necessary to protect its citizens from potential cases of attacks. Thus, the U.S. may spend billions of money on the development of such weapons systems.