Boeing and Lockheed are locked in an enduring struggle over the sale of advanced fighters to the U.S. Navy and to other countries. The cost increases and schedule delays that have beset the Joint Strike Fighter program offered Boeing an appealing opening and they have leapt in. The F-18, they argue is a combat-proven aircraft with excellent capabilities, ready for almost immediate sale at a “reasonable” price. The nine F-35 partner nations are watching closely to see if costs will continue to grow past the $900 million increase announced recently by the F-35 program office, Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing’s military aircraft division, told us in late July. “Where is it going to end? Is it going to end?” Chadwick said. “I think that will drive the decisions by the international customers.”
This podcast — delayed by technical issues for some time — includes a detailed description by Tom Burbage, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin for the F-35, about why he and the company think the F-35 is the superior choice. Now there’s no surprise in Burbage claiming his plane is superior, but the interview offers a rare and detailed discussion of the F-35 and its competition, one we think Breaking Defense readers will find compelling.