F-35 Lightning II
Type Stealth multirole fighter
Country of origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
First flight 15 December 2006
Numbers built 13 flight-test aircraft
Unit costs F-35A: US$122 million (flyaway cost, 2011)
F-35B: US$150M (avg. cost, 2011)
F-35C: US$139.5M (avg. cost, 2011)
Note: Average costs excludes development cost
F-35A weapons system unit cost is US$183.5M (FY 2011)
Max speed Maximum speed: Mach 1.6+ (1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h) Tested to Mach 1.6
Max range Range: 1,200 nmi (2,220 km) on internal fuel
Combat radius: over 590 nmi (1,090 km) on internal fuel
Service ceiling: 60,000 ft (18,288 m)
Dimensions Length: 51.4 ft (15.67 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft (10.7 m)
Height: 14.2 ft (4.33 m)
Wing area: 460 ft² (42.7 m²)
Weight Empty weight: 29,300 lb (13,300 kg)
Loaded weight: 49,540 lb (22,470 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 70,000 lb (31,800 kg)
Powerplant 1 × Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan
Dry thrust: 28,000 lbf (125 kN)
Thrust with afterburner: 43,000 lbf(191 kN)
Armament Guns: 1 × General Dynamics GAU-22/A Equalizer 25 mm (0.984 in) 4-barreled gatling cannon, internally mounted with 180 rounds
Hardpoints: 6 × external pylons on wings with a capacity of 15,000 lb (6,800 kg)and 2 internal bays with 2 pylons each for a total weapons payload of 18,000 lb (8,100 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:
MBDA Meteor (Pending further funding)
JDRADM (after 2020)
Joint Air-to-Ground Missile
Mark 84, Mark 83 and Mark 82 GP bombs
Mk.20 Rockeye II cluster bomb
Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser capable
Paveway-series laser-guided bombs
Small Diameter Bomb (SDB)
B61 nuclear bomb
Operators Future Operators:
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.
Israel and Singapore are also possible for being future operators of F-35.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth generation multirole fighter featuring stealth technology to carry out ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions. This single-engine and single-seat fighter is now under development and expected will be in service with several countries starting 2016. The F-35 is developed into three primary variants: F-35A – conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, F-35B – short take off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant and F-35C – carrier-based (CATOBAR or CV) variant.
The F-35 is designed and developed from the X-35, a prototype for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. JSF development is being primarily funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom and other partner governments giving supplemental funding. The partner nations are either NATO members or close U. S. allies. The JSF program was aimed to develop a new multirole fighter than can replace the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8. The F-35 is being designed and developed by an aerospace industry team directed by Lockheed Martin. The F-35 took its maiden flight on 15 December 2006.
The Design of F-35
The appearance of F-35 is generally similar to Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, only the F-35 uses single-engine and definitely the F-35 drew elements from F-22.
The exhaust duct design was influenced by the General Dynamics Model 200 design, which was proposed for a 1972 supersonic VTOL fighter. For specific development of the F-35B STOVL variant, Lockheed discussed with a Russian aircraft manufaturer, the Yakovlev Design Bureau, buying design data of the Yakovlev Yak-141 Freestyle. The F-35B is expected to be the first operational supersonic, STOVL stealth fighter for United States Navy.
The F-35 can fly with a maximum speed of over Mach 1.6 and with a maximum takeoff weight of 60, 000 lb (27, 000 kg), the Lightning II is substantially heavier than the lightweight fighters it replaces. The F-35’s main engine is the Pratt & Whitney F135. As an alternative, the General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 has been prepared.
Lockheed Martin states the F-35 is designed to have close and long-range air-to-air capability second only to the F-22 Raptor. The company aimed that the F-35 could also replace the USAF’s F-15C/D fighters in the air superiority role and the F-15E Strike Eagle in the ground attack role, but it does not have the range or payload of either F-15 model.
The F-35A does carry a similar air-to-air armament as the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle when both aircraft are configured for low observable operations and has over 80 percent of the larger aircraft’s combat radius.
The F-35A is armed with a GAU-22/A, a four-barrel version of the GAU-12 Equalizer 25 mm cannon. The fighter has two internal weapons bays, and external hardpoints that can mount four underwing pylons and two near wingtip pylons. The two outer hardpoints can only carry pylons for the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-132 ASRAAM air-to-air missiles. The ASRAAMs can be carried on “stealthy” external pylons that add little to the aircraft’s radar cross section.
The other pylons can carry the AIM-120 AMRAAM, Storm Shadow, AGM-158 Joint Air to Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM) cruise missiles, guided bombs, 480 US gallons (1,800 L) and 600 US gallons (2,300 L) fuel tanks. With its payload capability, the F-35 can carry more weapons payload than the legacy fighters it is to replace as well as the F-22 Raptor, including the B61 nuclear bomb which was scheduled for deployment in 2017.
The future operator of this stealth fighter is the United States Marine Corps who considers replacing their Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler electronic attack aircraft with the F-35s that have stealthy jammer pods attached.
F-35 Lightning II videos
2010 | Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
Lockheed F-35 JSF Flight Testing Montage