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In terms of that acceleration spec, the JSF program office in the US has asked the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee, or JROC, to relax the requirement to 63 seconds which is similar to the performance of a 50-year-old F-4 Phantom—so much for meetings spec.
The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by 8 seconds. These changes were due to the results of air vehicle performance and flying qualities evaluations.
Officials there told Bevilaqua that they needed a successor to the Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jet, a fighter-bomber that can take off and land like a helicopter but fly forward like a regular fixed-wing aircraft. The Harrier had served for many years as the Marines' short take off and vertical landing-STOVL-attack aircraft, thanks to the lift provided by a series of moveable nozzles shooting out engine gas. But the Harrier was small, could not carry a big load of bombs, nor fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight or have the stealth characteristics needed to foil enemy gunners. "Where's the beef?" was one critical question pilots often asked about the Harrier. DARPA and the Marine Corps liked the new fighter-bomber and propulsion system that the Bevilaqua team outlined for them. So, they financed the team's development efforts at the rate of $8 million to $10 million a year from 1988-91. Then, the money ran out. For a while, it looked as if the Bevilaqua team's blueprints would end up in a bottom drawer at the Skunk Works rather than be transformed into flying metal. But in 1992, Bevilaqua persuaded the Air Force that his team's plane would make a great and affordable fighter-bomber to complement the service's F-22 air superiority fighter in the 21st century. The Marines' STOVL devices could be stripped out of the Skunk Works plane, he said, and made into a very serviceable plane for the Air Force. The Air Force and later the Navy agreed such an airplane was worth pursuing, and their support prompted the Pentagon to launch the JSF program.