U.S., U.K. Sign Joint Strike Fighter Agreement Jan. 17

United States Department of Defense
January 17, 2001


Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy de Leon and the Minister of State for
Defence Procurement (U.K.), The Right Honourable Baroness Symons of
Vernham Dean, today participated in a ceremony that formally
establishes a U.S.-U.K. commitment to cooperate in the Engineering and
Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Joint Strike Fighter
(JSF) program.

The U.S. and U.K. Defense ministers exchanged letters that describe
their vision for cooperation on JSF throughout the life of the
program. This event represents substantial commitments on the part of
the Department of Defense to bring about a fundamental change in
defense armaments cooperation though programs such as the JSF. JSF
also represents joint commitment to develop a mutual security
environment that will truly enhance future coalition operations - one
that will require the United States, the United Kingdom, and their
allies not only to fight together, but also to work together to
develop weapons systems and equipment that are fully interoperable.

Once developed and fielded, JSF will enable both nations to maintain
and enhance our effectiveness in the skies over the battlespace.

Building on a long history of U.K.-U.S. collaboration on Short Take
Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft technologies, JSF cooperation is
the logical next step in establishing a new direction for U.S.
transatlantic cooperation in defense systems. The JSF program will
provide a highly capable, affordable Strike Fighter for the U.S. Air
Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy as well as the U.K. Royal Navy
and Royal Air Force, and our other allies.

It represents the flagship for the DoD's Acquisition Reform effort,
combined with the key tenets of the U.K.'s "Smart Acquisition"
initiative. Using the philosophy of "best of the best," the
integration of U.K. personnel within the U.S. Program Office has
become a model for cooperative program management, and has allowed
full exploitation of the particular strengths of each country.

In addition to the planned government-to-government cooperation,
today's events underline the critical importance of U.S. and U.K.
industry working closely together to develop this new fighter.

Under JSF's "best value" approach, U.K. industry has worked closely
with the two prospective U.S. prime contractors to earn a sizable
share of planned JSF EMD work by offering significant advantages to
the U.S. prime contractors. This approach will markedly contribute to
JSF's primary goal of providing a highly capable aircraft at an
affordable cost.

The pooling of technological expertise will significantly increase
technical competency on both sides of the Atlantic.

The JSF will play a major role in maintaining a strong transatlantic
industrial base, enhancing interoperability within the NATO Alliance,
and providing both the United States and its closest partners with
greater access to key technologies needed to meet their future defense