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Determination of program management methods and practices to be applied in the national combat aircraft development (tfx) program by using the experience from the f-35 joint strike fighter (jsf) program

Yiğit, Muhammed Ali
Following World War II, the air power was clearly accepted as the most critical power to have for all nations. The military theorists focused on the air power since the air supremacy was seen the key for victory. Hence, the fighter aircraft technology has grown aggressively in the second half of last century and triggered the development of five types of aircraft generations until the beginning of the 1990s. The F-35 Lightning-II is a fifth-generation aircraft that has thrust vector, stealth airframe, advanced radar and sensors and integrated avionics with fusion technology, and it was developed and manufactured under the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program which is one of the largest single defense programs in the world history. Turkey has been a partner of JSF Program with the international memorandum and under this memorandum and Turkey will procure the F-35 Lightning-II. Furthermore, Turkey independently decided to start the local development of fifth generation fighter aircraft and named it as ‘National Combat Aircraft Development (TFX) Program’. The conceptual design phase has been completed under the TFX Program and currently the preliminary design phase of the aircraft is ongoing. In the development of the large-scale programs such as JSF, TFX i.e., each project process and each phase should be designed and each decision have to be taken with great scrutiny as the results of each action can have tremendous effects on the program, not only limited to technical, but also financial matters. Any unnecessary application can cause waste of time, money and other resources. Therefore, it is important to apply the best practices from all the past experiences made out, lessons-learnt encountered the other programs in TFX Program. At that point, the JSF Program seems as a cut out for TFX Program. In this thesis, program management methods and applicable best practices are investigated and presented by utilizing the experiences gained in the JSF Program in order to make the best use of time, money and efforts and increase the efficiency of the TFX Program.