Feb 04, 2003
Season 30 Episode 11
Inside the high-tech, high-stakes competition to create America's newest fighter plane. NOVA goes behind the doors of the world's two largest aerospace companies to record classified meetings, climbs into cockpits to fly the most revolutionary planes, and examines the high-stakes battle waged between Boeing and Lockheed Martin to build the most capable and versatile fighter ever created-- the Joint Strike Fighter. The two aerospace giants fight for a contract that will make aviation history and help protect America, and that could provide the winner total domination of the U.S. defense fighter industry. Marking the first time filmmakers have been allowed inside a major weapons competition, NOVA enters Boeing's Phantom Works and Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works, and travels to the flight test centers at Edwards Air Force Base and Patuxnet Naval Air Station to document key moments of the competition. Join military brass, aviation engineers, and test pilots as they race to create a single aircraft that meets three criteria-- that the winning plane be stealthy, affordable, and adaptable to the varying needs of the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Filmed over four years, Battle of the X-Planes reveals the breakthrough designs, heartbreaking setbacks, adrenaline-fueled test flights, and one final nail-biting decision-- the winner of the most lucrative contract in military history.