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Take a Look at the Two Planes That Almost Replaced the F-22 and F-35 Stealth Fighters
The Department of Defense (DoD) didn’t have to opt for the F-35. In the 1990s, both Boeing and Lockheed Martin bid for the next big fighter contract, a plane that would serve in each of the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as grace the air forces of many US allies. Boeing served up the X-32; Lockheed the X-35.DoD had not, historically, had good luck with joint programs, but the hope was that increased “jointness” between the services, combined with more advanced production techniques and more carefully refined logistics procedures, would make a shared fighter worth the effort. All parties understood that the winner of the competition would likely enjoy a great deal of export success, as many air forces around the world required a fifth-generation fighter. In short, this was the biggest deal on the horizon of the post-Cold War defense industry. Boeing and Lockheed Martin won contracts to develop two demonstrators each.
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