The Mentors Radio

Where Remarkable CEOs Challenge Your Thinking about Life and Work

Tom Burbage F-35

347. From Vision to Victory: Host Tom Loarie talks with Tom Burbage on Leading the World’s Most Ambitious Aerospace Endeavor

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In this episode of THE MENTORS RADIO, Host Tom Loarie talks with Navy fighter pilot and test pilot, Tom Burbage about Burbage’s remarkable rise to Executive Vice President and General Manager at Lockheed Martin, and then going on to lead the world’s most complex and ambitious aerospace endeavor ever; the development of the F-35, Lightning II. Burbage was also the long-term leader of both the F-22 Raptor development program. In the episode, Burbage shares his insights and tips on leading and managing “the RUBIKS Cube of all weapons development program,” the F-35. It is a fascinating and inspiring saga indeed! From the inception of the F-35 Lightning II as a near-impossible dream, its long and troubled gestation, the building of an international partnership and its current standing as the West’s frontline fighter world wide, this is a hang-on-to-your-seats, master mentoring conversation, crammed with take-away tips and insights no matter what your business, work, passion or life ambitions. You’ll also learn from Tom Burbage, a man who has served his country nobly for his entire life, how service can transform each of us and the society in which we live. Exceptional episode!



  • BIO:
  • BOOK:
    • F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II, by Tom Burbage,
    • Book teaser: The inside story of the most expensive and controversial military program in history, as told by those who lived it.

      The F-35 has changed allied combat warfare. But by the time it’s completed, it will cost more than the Manhattan Project and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. It has been subject to the most aggressive cyberattacks in history from China, Russia, North Korea, and others. Its stealth technology required nearly 9 million lines of code; NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover required 2.5 million. And it was this close to failure.

      F-35 is the only inside look at the most advanced aircraft in the world and the historic project that built it, as told by those who were intimately involved in its design, testing, and production. Based on the authors’ personal experience and over 100+ interviews, F-35 pulls back the curtain on one of the most heavily criticized government programs in history from start to finish: the dramatic flights that won Lockheed Martin the contract over Boeing; the debates and decisions over capabilities; feats of software, hardware, and aeronautical engineering that made it possible; how the project survived the Nunn-McCurdy breach; the conflicts among all three branches of the U.S. military, between the eight other allied nation partners, and against spy elements from enemies.

      For readers of Skunk Works by Ben Rich and The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, F-35 will pique the interest of airplane enthusiasts, defense industry insiders, military history aficionados, political junkies, and general nonfiction readers.

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