Palmdale, CA —Since the end of the Cold War, the first flights of any new military aircraft have been few and far between. It's been nearly a decade since the prototypes for the Advanced Tactical Fighter, which resulted in the F-22 fighter program, were made.
Now this summer, perhaps by the time this is read, the two concept demonstrators for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will fly. The modular-design airplane, when operational, will come in three flavors but be built on a single production line. Those types are: a conventional takeoff and landing fighter for the U.S. Air Force, a navalized version to operate off of aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy, and a vertical takeoff and landing variant for the U.S. Marines and the British Royal Navy.
Program schedule calls picking the design winner in early 2001.