After the preliminary design review was completed on schedule in April 2003, every subsequent milestone in the F-35 program was missed by at least one year. Yet Lockheed Martin continued to exude optimism, rejecting criticism that production was being ramped up before development and producibility issues were solved.
Brian Kilburn of the Boeing B-2 System Program Office presented insights into the true cost of a stealth operation at the Stealth Conference conducted recently in London by military/defense conference organizer Defence IQ. Kilburn noted that the 20-strong fleet of B-2s requires 70,000 maintenance hours annually, and that 40 low-observable (LO) technicians work on them full-time. The U.S.
Four decades after the first truly stealthy air vehicles were secretly flown in the U.S., the technology has matured and proliferated. Many countries could now design a stealthy, small unmanned aerial vehicle, but since uncompromised stealth capabilities bring penalties, developers and operators are still wrestling with multiple trade-offs.