Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

An F-35 arrives at its operational base at Hill Air Force Base, in the U.S. state of Utah, Sept. 2, 2015.

An F-35 arrives at its operational base at Hill Air Force Base, in the U.S. state of Utah, Sept. 2, 2015.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fightersundergoing final development and testing for the United States and partner nations. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant. On 31 July 2015, the first squadron of F-35B fighters was declared ready for deployment after intensive testing by the United States Marines.  On 2 August 2016, the U.S. Air Force declared its first squadron of F-35A fighters as combat-ready.

The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Other major F-35 industry partners include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006. The United States plans to buy 2,457 aircraft. The F-35 variants are intended to provide the bulk of the manned tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy and the Marine Corps over the coming decades. Deliveries of the F-35 for the U.S. military are scheduled to be completed in 2037 with a projected service life up to 2070.

F-35 JSF development is being principally funded by the United States with additional funding from partners. The partner nations are either NATO members or close U.S. allies. The United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey are part of the active development program;  several additional countries have ordered, or are considering ordering, the F-35.

The program is the most expensive military weapons system in history, and it has been the object of much criticism from those inside and outside government—in the US and in allied countries. Critics argue that the plane is “plagued with design flaws,” with many blaming the procurement process in which Lockheed was allowed “to design, test, and produce the F-35 all at the same time, instead of … [identifying and fixing] defects before firing up its production line.” By 2014, the program was “$163 billion over budget [and] seven years behind schedule.” Critics further contend that the program’s high sunk costsand political momentum make it “too big to kill.

Role Stealth multirole fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
First flight 15 December 2006
Introduction F-35B: 31 July 2015 (USMC)
F-35A: 2 August 2016 (USAF)
F-35C: 2018 (USN)
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Marine Corps
United States Navy
Royal Air Force
Produced 2006–present
Number built 180+ as of November 2016
Program cost US$1.508 trillion (through 2070 in then-year dollars), US$55.1B for RDT&E, $319.1B for procurement, $4.8B for MILCON, $1123.8B for operations & sustainment (2015 estimate)
Unit cost
F-35A: $98M (low rate initial production without engine, full production in 2018 to be $85M)
F-35B: US$104M (low rate initial production without engine)
F-35C: US$116M (low rate initial production without engine)
Developed from Lockheed Martin X-35



  • Italian Air Force – 1 in use for testing; 7 on order, with 30 more to be ordered by 2020; up to 60 total planned
 Republic of Korea
 United States


 United Kingdom – 4 in use for testing; 14 on order, with 42 (24 FOC fighters and 18 training aircraft) to be fast-tracked by 2023; 138 F-35s total planned
 United States


 United States

Specifications (F-35A)

Three-way view of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II.

Three-way view of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II.

General characteristics

The first of 15 pre-production F-35s

The first of 15 pre-production F-35s


  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.6+ (1,200 mph, 1,930 km/h) (tested to Mach 1.61)
  • Range: >1,200 nmi (2,220 km) on internal fuel
  • Combat radius: 625 nmi (1,158 km) interdiction mission on internal fuel, 760 nmi (1,407 km) for internal air to air configuration
  • Wing loading: 107.7 lb/ft² (526 kg/m²; 745 kg/m² max loaded)
  • Thrust/weight:
    • With full fuel: 0.87
    • With 50% fuel: 1.07
  • Maximum g-load:g
F-35B cutaway with LiftFan

F-35B cutaway with LiftFan



Differences between variants
Length 50.5 ft (15.4 m) 50.5 ft (15.4 m) 50.8 ft (15.5 m)
Wingspan 35 ft (10.7 m) 35 ft (10.7 m) 43 ft (13.1 m)
Wing Area 460 ft² (42.7 m²) 460 ft² (42.7 m²) 620 ft² (62.1 m²)
Empty weight 29,098 lb (13,199 kg) 32,300 lb (14,700 kg) 34,800 lb (15,800 kg)
Internal fuel 18,498 lb (8,390 kg) 13,326 lb (6,045 kg) 19,624 lb (8,900 kg)
Max takeoff weight 70,000 lb class (31,800 kg) 60,000 lb class (27,200 kg) 70,000 lb class (31,800 kg)
Range >1,200 nmi (2,220 km) >900 nmi (1,670 km) >1,200 nmi (2,220 km)
Combat radius on
internal fuel
625 nmi (1,158 km) 467 nmi (865 km) 630 nmi (1,167 km)
• full fuel:
• 50% fuel:

See also

(Source : en.wikipedia.org)