Expected in 2016
Dimensions and weight
13 - 14.5 t
Weight (maximum take off)
Engines and performance
1 x Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan (F-35A)
Traction (dry / with afterburning)
111 / 177.9 kN (F-35A)
1 931 km/h
1 670 - 2 200 km
830 - 1 100 km
Cannon (only on F-35A)
1 x GAU-22/A 25-mm cannon
AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-132
ASRAAM, JSOW, Brimstone, Meteor.
GBU-31/32 JDAM, WCMD, Paveway laser-guided
bombs, free-fall bombs
Martin's F-35 multi-role fighter (also known as the Lightning II)
was a contender for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, which
was intended to replace existing aircraft types with a common
fighter. The JSF concept was introduced by the US Air Force. Aim of
this program was to combine conventional fighter aircraft for the
Air Force, catapulted ship-borne aircraft for the US Navy and short
take-off-and-vertical-landing fighter for the US Marine Corps.
Martin's proposed aircraft was previously known as the X-35 and it won
competition against the Boeing X-32. From 1997 its development has
been shared with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The first X-35A
prototype was rolled out in 2000 and made its maiden during the same
year. Development of this aircraft was principally funded by the
USA, with the UK and other partner governments providing additional
funding. In 2015 a version of the F-35, the F-35B, reached initial
operational capability with the US Marine Corps. During the same
year full-rate production of the F-35 commenced. It is expected to enter service
with the US Air Force in 2016 and the US Navy in 2018. The US military plans
to obtain over 2 440 of these aircraft of all types. These will replace the
warplanes. However due to cost overruns it is likely that fewer new
aircraft will be obtained. The F-35 will be exported to Australia,
Canada, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore,
Turkey, United Kingdom, and possibly some other countries. In 2015 the
first F-35 aircraft was delivered to the Italian Air Force. It was
the first production aircraft delivered outside the US.
F-35 has a configuration similar to that of Lockheed Martin's own
design, however it is slightly smaller and has one engine. Aircraft
with a single engine is less expensive to produce and to service,
but at a cost of reduced weapon load and performance. The F-35
exploits stealth technology, which reduces its radar cross-section
and makes it harder to detect for radars. Currently it is
one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world.
different engines were developed for this multi-role fighter, the
Pratt & Whitney F135 and secondary General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136
afterburning turbofans. The last mentioned is used on the Short Take-Off
and Vertical Landing (STOVL)
aircraft. The Lightning II is capable of cruising at supersonic
multi-role fighter can perform on air defense missions, close air
support and tactical bombing. It can carry up to
two air-to-air missiles or two air-to-ground weapons in its internal
weapon bay. The F-35 fighter is compatible with
AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-132 ASRAAM, JDAM,
JSOW, Brimstone, WCMD, MBDA Meteor, and some other missiles.
Additional missiles, bombs or fuel
tanks can be attached to external hardpoint. Wing tip pylons can
also carry AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles.
weapons are carried at the expense of being more detectable by
version of the F-35, the F-35A has got an internally mounted
4-barrel 25-mm cannon.
The F-35 is
stuffed with the most advanced systems. Its key systems include a multi-function
Active Electrically-Scanned Array (AESA) that combines radar, electronic
communications functions and a conformal array imaging infrared sensor.
Data from the various sensors is fused on the pilot's advanced
helmet-mounted display system.
multi-role fighter has an in-flight refueling capability.
proposed in three main variants, including the F-35A, -B and -C. These
variants share about 80% of their
parts to keep development and production costs low. It also requires
less logistic support.
conventional take-off and landing aircraft. It is a land-based model
for the US Air Force. It is the smallest and lightest version of the
F-35. Also it will be the most popular version of the F-35. The
F-35A is the only version of the F-35 with a built-in GAU-22/A
four-barrel 25-mm cannon. In the US Air Force service the F-35A will
warplanes. It outperforms the F-16 lightweight multi-role fighter in
terms of stealth, range, payload, avionics, survivability, and
matches it in terms of maneuverability. It was announced that the
initial squadron of F-35As will be combat ready by the end of 2016. This version will be
exported to a number of countries.
take-off and vertical landing aircraft. This model is being
developed for the US Marine Corps, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Connected to the
engine via a drive shaft, a Rolls-Royce lift fan behind the cockpit
provides around half the thrust required for hovering flight. The
lift fan results in lower power settings, and cooler exhaust
temperatures and velocities. The F-35B achieved initial operational
capability with the US Marine Corps in 2015.
carrier-based aircraft. It is the US Navy's variant, which features
a larger wing and control surfaces (fin & elevator) than the other
variants. It is
fitted with ailerons, a strengthened landing gear, arrestor hook and
a reinforced airframe to absorb catapult launches and arrested
landings. Both Royal Navy and US Navy X-35B/Cs will have folding
Video of the Lockheed Martin F-35 multi-role fighter