The Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior Podcast With Mike Sarraille is a podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers from all walks of life. In episode 72, Sarraille spoke with Tom Burbage, the former executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program.
In this episode, Burbage shares his insights on fostering collaboration, culture, and government alliances. From his role in the development of the game-changing F-35 airplanes to his experiences shaping international alliances, Burbage’s journey is nothing short of inspiring.
Listen to the full podcast above and see a timestamped overview of the interview below.
***[00:06:12] All services develop one airplane in mid-90s. [00:08:22] F-35 safe, high cost misunderstood by many. [00:16:35] Airplane software fuses sensors for situational awareness. [00:19:07] Efforts to improve reliability and maintainability, but spare parts budget affected. [00:24:02] Washington office handles corporate interests, budget debates. [00:26:30] Two inflection points caused program challenges. First, in 2004, engineers struggled with designing three airplanes simultaneously. Weight predictions increased, requiring a switch in the order of aircraft production, adding time and reducing weight. Second, in 2010, a cost calculation restructuring caused a program reset and increased testing. Despite setbacks, the airplane performs as originally intended. [00:32:19] Leadership team constructed ideal organization, common objectives. Reverse mentoring and active engagement with workforce. [00:34:58] Taking career risks, seizing unexpected opportunities. [00:38:25] Historic alliance demonstrated with versatile F-35s. [00:41:26] U.S. produces high number of airplanes. [00:44:56] Tank killing, shifting alliances shape global hotspots. [00:48:19] Human side of stories, team dynamics, gratitude, legacy, book information