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Lockheed Martin F-35

Multi-role fighter

F-35 multi-role fighter

The Lockheed Martin F-35 multi-role fighter will be produced in three main variants

 
 
Entered service Expected in 2016
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 15.47 m
Wing span 10.05 m
Height 5.28 m
Weight (empty) 13 - 14.5 t
Weight (maximum take off) 27.2 t
Engines and performance
Engines 1 x Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan (F-35A)
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 111 / 177.9 kN (F-35A)
Maximum speed 1 931 km/h
Service ceiling 18.3 km
Range 1 670 - 2 200 km
Combat radius 830 - 1 100 km
Armament
Cannon (only on F-35A) 1 x GAU-22/A 25-mm cannon
Missiles AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-132 ASRAAM, JSOW, Brimstone, Meteor.
Bombs GBU-31/32 JDAM, WCMD, Paveway laser-guided bombs, free-fall bombs

 

   The Lockheed 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.

   The Lockheed 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 AV-8B, A-10, F-16 and F/A-18 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.

   The generic F-35 has a configuration similar to that of Lockheed Martin's own F-22 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.

   Two 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 speeds.

   The F-35 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. However external weapons are carried at the expense of being more detectable by radars.

   Only one 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 warfare and 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.

   This multi-role fighter has an in-flight refueling capability.

   Aircraft is 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.

 

Variants

 

   F-35A 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 replace the A-10 and F-16 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.

   F-35B short 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.

   F-35C 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 wings.

 

Video of the Lockheed Martin F-35 multi-role fighter

 
F-35 multi-role fighter

F-35 multi-role fighter

F-35 multi-role fighter

F-35 multi-role fighter

F-35 multi-role fighter


 
X-35 multi-role fighter

X-35 multi-role fighter

X-35 multi-role fighter

X-35 multi-role fighter

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