ST. LOUIS -- The Pentagon gave a "A" to Boeing Co.'s design for the Joint Strike Fighter, but graded the rival -- and winning -- entry from Lockheed Martin Corp. an "A-Plus."
That's the basic explaination given Tuesday by Jerry Daniels, the head of Boeing's St. Louis-based Military Aircraft and Missile Systems Group, following a debriefing Monday with defense officials in Washington.
While Daniels said the companies tied in a number of criteria, including cost and affordability as Boeing graded higher in management and past performance, Lockheed's clear win in design made the difference.
"I came away with the impression that we did not lose, but that Lockheed Martin clearly won," Daniel said. "Not only did our design meet the requirements, but often exceeded them."
But Lockheed Martin's JSF design, now known as the F-35, exceed the program's design requirements, Daniels said.
Defense officials announced last week that after an eight-year design phase and competition between the two contractors, it selected Lockheed Martin to continue as the prime contractor on the JSF project. The $300 billion contract calls for more than 3,000 next-generation fighter jets for three branches of the armed forces.
While stressing that no one part of the design of Boeing's X-32 JSF led to the loss, Daniels said defense officials considered Lockheed's design for the U.S. Marine Corps and Britain's Royal Navy and Air Force version of the JSF superior.