The F35 is an exciting new fighter that will be coming into production around 2008. This fighter has been development since around 1990. It came from the Joint Strike Technology (jst) program and the Joint Strike Fighter (jsf) program. These two programs had a simple goal: To make an aircraft that can use the same basic airframe for the different branches of the military. England also worked into the contract for its Royal Navy/ British Air Force. This concept is needed for today's new fighters. The JSF concept minimizes costs by sharing technologies, airframes, and ending branch competition for development funds.
It was made official in November of 2001 that the Lockheed Martin design was chosen over the Boeing concepts. There are 3 main versions developed for the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marines and British Air Force. Each one has the same fuselage, internal weapons bay, wing sweeps, and the same core engine. Also, all three versions are a basically stealth design, similar to the F-22.
Three F-35 Versions
The USAF version, or F-35A, takes off and lands conventionally, has an internal gun, and various sensors. Its big challenge is overcoming the awesome handling abilities of the F-16, which it is slated to replace. The USAF wants to order about 1800 F-35's.
The US Navy version, or F-35Cc, has been adapted for carrier landings and takeoff's. This version will work with the F-18C. This includes larger wing surface, folding wings, and arresting gear. It also will have higher pay load capacity. This version will have an internal gun and sensors. The Navy plans to order about 480 F-35's.
The USMC and Britain's Royal Navy/Air Force. version, or F-35B, will have short takeoff/vertical landing capabilities (stovl), much like the current AV-8B harrier. This version will not have an internal gun but one can be mounted on an external hard point. The F-35B will replace the AV-8b and the F-18. The USMC plans to order about 480 F-35's.
|Power Plant:||1 P & W F119-PW-100, derived from the F-22, or GE F120 core|
|Max Weight:||~50,000 lbs|
|Wingspan:||36 ft (for A & B model), 30 ft (for C model)|
|Speed:||Supersonic (not yet released)|
|Range:||unlimited w/ air refueling|
|Armament:||1 20 mm. M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel (in a & B models) and various disposable weapons|
|Deployment Date:||2001 approved, 2008 for production|