Procurement: July 14, 2000


Boeing reports great advances in aircraft design on its X32 entry to the Joint Strike Fighter competition. The X-32A forebody was designed and built in 14 months, half the normal time for such work. A new fiber placement systems allows Boeing to build composite structures for 40% less than previous methods. Virtual reality design work meant that when the X-32A hydraulic lines were assembled for the first time, they fit perfectly with no leaks, something that has never happened on a structure this complex. Tooling requirements for the X-32A were reduced 75%, and tooling costs by 50%. When the X-32B short-takeoff version was built, its mid-fuselage section cost 30% less than that of the X-32A, and the X-32B's overall assembly cost 20% less.--Stephen V Cole


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