Battle of the X-Planes

Ratings: 6.83/10 from 23 users.


Battle of the X-PlanesInside 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.

You’re on the front line as 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 widely 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- the Joint Strike Fighter.

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25 Comments / User Reviews

  1. carpenter

    Not really a hard choice the raptor looks way better.

  2. Scorpio

    Awesome documentary. I love jets. Vlatko you are doing a great job gathering all these documentaries.

  3. Amir Bengali

    Great Documentary
    Very Interesting

  4. Remco

    The JSF is an awesome project, but it cost WAY to much money.
    Must say, since Battlefield 2 introduced this plain, I love it.

  5. Moe

    People, they are talking about killing machines like it is taking a trip to the supermarket. The make it so this garbage is entertaining. There is a good documentary called Militainment. Get a different perspective on an objective way to view our military with facts. Also read War is a Racket written by general Smedley Butler who is one of the most highly decorated men in U.S. history. Don't worry, it's really short and can be found on line for free with no real effort. May not be as exciting as battlefield but far more informative.

    Some facts, The largest air force in the world is the U.S. airforce, the second largest is the U.S. Navy. How many do you really need? Better question is who profits off of it? The US is the largest selling of weapons in the world. 895 billion is spent annually on the military, that's more then the next highest 27 military budgets in the world combined, 26 of which are our allies. Can't find the stats now but I do know the friendly fire stats are at record highs and the number grows with each "war" we are in. I believe it is over 40% in the war we are in now. You can say it's because the weapons are more powerful which begs the question, it's good to have the weapons deadlier for our "enemies" and not safer for our "troops"? But I also think it's because we have a bunch of trigger happy video game nuts where taking a life is just like a game. Don't believe that's possible? Take a look at Remco's comment. Enough said.

  6. randall

    Great post moe. interesting documentary!

  7. Billy Bingbong

    I agree with you Moe, regardless I enjoyed watching this.

  8. MIchael22541

    Awesome this doc will go down in history as the doc that took two years to watch. 0108hrs

  9. face

    Awesome doc! Imagine what these people could do if they changed jobs to save the planet, rather than destroying it.

  10. Ajarn L

    funny how the engineers seem to be English.

  11. David Blazevic

    Your all idiots, you think our soldiers think war a game? That is the most naive thing I have ever heard.

    War is a part of being human, how would you end war? I would love to hear it. Should we spend that 895 billion on food relief? Only for it to be stolen by armed men, oh wait, we wouldn't be able to drop the food because we wouldn't have an airforce, wouldn't be able to protect it, and make sure the right people get it because we have have no armed forces ourselves.

    People will steal, fight, rape and kill in parts of the world, I do not know how to stop it, but it would be a lot worse if they didn't fear the repercussions of our military and/or police.

    At our current state, we need the military, hopefully, one day, when we evolve enough so enough of us do not want to do bad, there will be no need for it. That day, is not today. Enough said.

  12. DaveJay

    Well guys you can argue about the pros and cons of war machines but I started to watch this documentary and once I started I needed to see it to its end. As a documentary it was fully attention seeking. Great one and thank you. Dave J

  13. Muhammad Ali

    They would probably be broke..with no bngs for their family. :).

  14. Olaf Wypior

    Wait you need stealth technology to bomb 3rd world countries now?

  15. Liebewitz

    test pilot Hargreaves, obviously!--Who else?-pray tell!

  16. Laury Curran

    Great story and a historical record of one of the last generation of manned fighter jets.

  17. Rocky Racoon

    That is a crock of B.S. There is nothing innate about being violent-human beings have accomplished much more being cooperative rather than competative if we didn't we would have never been able to evolve. Human nature is what we make it. Our nature's are being twisted around and manipulated by social and economic forces that we are told we have no choice but to adapt to and that is also a crock of horse hockey but it keeps the new aristocracy of capitalists bully boys in power. And yes today's military thinks war is a game! When you live in Nevada and operate a predator drone from a portable trailer somewhere outside of Las Vegas you are playing games. Europe has been through two world wars and still has some historic memory of it. North Americans have gone unscathed with the exception of the American Civil War and it American fighting Americans. ( I am Assuming you are from North America to make such a statement) We have not fought a necessary war since 1939-45. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq Afghanistan, LIbya have all been wars of choice not necessity. The Butchering that is going on in the Middle East is atrocious and it is for the benefit of multinationals and oh btw, I would much rather fund peaceful endeavors than Empire America- I want my country Canada out of NATO and We do not need these plans...I would like to know what happened to the millions that they lost track of at Lockheed-Indeed, I have never experienced such lawless government in my life and I am 56 so things are getting pretty bad stateside and here in Canada guess what-Consrvative war mongers are in power. The war crimes the corruption the lies and propaganda loss of civil liberites in the war on terror-all to be used against the domestic population in the end....I think I will turn the tube on and see how the debt crisis is going.....there is your necessary war to bad few are on the side of the people who do not want war or this type of military spending...yet it goes on and can that be in a democracy?

  18. Andrisf

    Go go military - industrial complex ... what do we need ? More dead civilians via your fckn bombs...when do we need it - now ...
    I just want to say to every one of those people who are making these machines of death - you are smart, even brilliant scientists, why dont you make something that will benefit humanity rather then kill millions of people?

  19. phoenix_karthick

    i love jets so... gud doc great engineering

  20. TheJurg71

    LOL LOL alrighty, then... 1:25 - 1:30 "part of a top secret competition".

  21. Aldo Solari

    That Boeing thing looked like a bath tub ... guys: stick to the Dreamliner- thank you :P

  22. The Top Ace900

    did you know? that the F-35 can't climb, can't turn, can't run? this is one thing that i hate... the fact that people choose something over another because of looks [and no my friend im far from refering to you] and in the end the object chosen turns out to be a failure. the X-32 was a hell-of-allot better in maneuverability than the lightning, was faster and more rugged aswell as being more stealth-benign than the other competitor. yet was chosen over because ''It looks like something only a mother would love" 0.0 !?!?!?!

  23. Matt Smith

    I'm sorry but you're just factually wrong, and you look like a complete *******--who, funny as it is, is probably wearing a tinfoil hat surrounded by chicken wire.

    Human nature is not "what we make it," it's who we are without all of the rigmarole. It is not controlled by social or economic forces, the obvious flaw in that, is that those are man made in due course with its' very own nature. Exactly why I or you call most things 'man,' or put the definite article 'he' on these things--it's in my nature as a man to relate that way and the only way I escape it is constant critical thought. Something I cannot maintain and something most people just don't do, so you can see the implications there I trust.

    The fact is, primates are, unfortunately, violent creatures and unlike this ridiculous arrogance presumed by the religious we are not unique and we are not so different from lesser evolved primates in the vast majority of disciplines.

    I was a paratrooper in the recent Iraq war and I still to this day spend plenty of time entertaining myself with video games. The two are not only glaringly different but no one (having actually experience either) would be so silly as to confuse the two, whatever childish notions we had growing up with video games and military simulations were soon squashed out by the brutal reality that is a military life. There was no confusion, there was no romanticized ideal.
    Drone pilots/operators experience severe and more widespread PTSD versus front line war fighters and yet you account for this by attributing that to it's just "a game!" How dare you be so arrogant to presume that but that's the prerogative of the civilian so far removed from what the world is actually like out there.

  24. Brad Lancaster

    lulz get the oil, and give it back to china before the checks bounce from buying crazy complicated jets we can't sell

  25. Brad Lancaster

    your right! its hilarious!

    alright these guys are the assembly team for lockheed martin, designed in vancouver by a drug addict and an international student, stolen first by James Cameron. James then was swindled out of the f35 plans for the script to Pocahontas which was renamed avatar in the haste to move dvd sales and 3d tvs. I saw it all on infowars, new world order!!

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