The A/F-X was conceived as a replacement for the Navy’s A-6 Intruder as a deep strike jet. Vought and McDonnell Douglas worked together on the A/F-X concept until the Department of Defense Secretary Les Aspin decided to cut the program. They were in competition with three other industry teams that would have seen two teams selected to build prototype aircraft. Each of the four teams received $3.3 M contracts to close out their efforts because the airplane was deemed unaffordable.
At one time Vought had over 150 people working on the project full and part time, including a contingent of McDonnell Douglas people.
Vought project manager Bill Rhoades believed this project added to both companies understanding of new design criteria. Rhoades said the most important areas of learning were in aircraft weight and cost as well as increased capabilities in conceptual aircraft design. Both Vought and McDonnell Douglas believed they had a good shot of winning the competition because of their previous designs with the Navy.
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