Nothing is constant except for change. This is the reason that government and those in the private sector always strive to achieve new heights in the development of better machines and equipment.
A very good example is the military. Each branch of the service uses weapons and equipment to get a job done. The government does not only set a budget to arm and feed the troops but a huge portion goes to research and development.
The military may have a department to conduct tests but those who do most of the work are outside contractors who over prototyping services. For example, if the United States Air Force wants a new fighter, various people are asked to bid on the project. In fact, Boeing and Lockheed Martin each made a version and the top brass will then decide which one will go into production.
The project took almost 10 years to complete. The military also wanted this to be used not only for the Air Force but also for the Navy and the Marines to replace the aging fighters that have been in the service for more than a decade.
The important factors to consider by the two contractors were the aircraft's ability to evade radar such as the F-117 stealth fighter and how well it can perform in combat. This can only be achieved by providing it with sophisticated sensors and radar systems to attack before the enemy can get a shot.
It also included how much it will cost to make one aircraft since the contractor who wins will have to produce a large inventory to be used by the armed forces.
In 2001, more than 7 years after this project started, Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to produce the new fighter of the 21st century. The military hopes to get the planes to the various units in the next 10 to 15 years to be able to combat the threats of the future.
The United States is not the only country that uses prototyping services to beef up its country's defenses. Across the Atlantic, nations in Europe have done the same thing with the development of the Harrier, which is the only successful Vertical and Take Off Landing aircraft to this day.
Scientists from different countries worked on the project for years before being able to produce a plane that could offer close air support to troops on the ground. The latest of this is the Typhoon, which is a faster and sleeker fighter aircraft.