Parent System:F-35 Lightning II Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 31 July 2015 Maiden Flight: 15 December 2006 Total Production: 3,019 Total Cost: USD$379 billion Family Members:F-35A Lightning II, F-35C Lightning II and F-35I Adir
Description: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is the United States Department of Defense (US DoD) program intended as the replacement for a variety of airborne platforms used by the US Air Force (USAF), US Navy (USN) and US Marine Corps (USMC) as well as allied nations. The F-35's size and maneuverability characteristics are similar to those of the F-16, its integrated avionics makes possible to carry out multiple missions using the same platform and its stealthy airframe gives the first-look, first-shoot capability. The first-look, first-shoot seems to be the cornerstone of air-to-air engagements of the 21st century as it did the maneuverability during the second half of the 20th century. Due to stealthy restrictions, the F-35 carries the weaponry in a single/double inner bay and not externally attached to hard points. The internal weapons bay reduces the drag providing a better aerodynamic performance. Less drag also translates into increased range and higher sustained speed. When air superiority has been established the F-35 can use weapons carried externally increasing its Radar Cross Section (RCS) and becoming more vulnerable to radar-based threats.
The F-35 aircraft will feature the fully integrated, nose-mounted EOTS providing day, night and all weather air-to-air/surface targeting, situational awareness, and target recognition. The EOTS advanced sensor will assume the functions of current LANTIRN, LITENING, and Sniper XR systems with the asset to be useful for air-to-air engagements using its Infrared (IR) search and track (IRST) capability. The F-35 main sensor, the APG-81 radar, is an active electronically scanned array (AESA). The F-35 primary role is air-to-surface precision strike with a secondary air-to-air capability. The Joint Strike Fighter concept is flexible enough to perform any mission. The United States is developing three main versions known as the F-35A (USAF), F-35B (USMC) and F-35C (USN and USMC). On 7 July 2006, the US Air Force chief of staff - General T. Michael Moseley - announced Lightning II as the F-35 name. The P-38 was the first aircraft named Lightning. P-38 was also a strike fighter and played an important role during World War II.
One key element of the F-35 JSF program is to reduce the aircraft's logistics support needs with less than half the people, parts and equipment to deploy rapidly anywhere in the world. The program also will focus on minimizing the reliance on aerial refueling aircraft. For fourth generation aircraft operation-and-support costs meant more than 60 percent of aircraft's total ownership costs. JSF will amend that figure by 20-30 percent. This will be done primarily through built-in Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) capabilities will monitor the status of aircraft systems and automatically transmit the information to maintainers on the ground. PHM will enable technicians to meet the aircraft with all necessary tools, people and parts to conduct the maintenance and get the plane airborne again quickly. The F-35 aircraft program expectations call for more than 3,000 airplanes to be produced by 2035 becoming the most important military program in the 21st century.
The Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B was developed as the replacement for the USMC F/A-18C/D and AV-8B+ Harrier STOVL aircraft as well as the British Harrier jump-jet. The F-35B aircraft has a refueling probe on the right side of the forward fuselage, rather the US Air Force standard refueling receptacle. The propulsion system is different from the rest of F-35 variants but the aircraft remains supersonic flight capable. The original plans of the USMC called for the procurement of 609 F-35Bs and the United Kingdom (UK) required up to 150 F-35Bs for Royal Navy's new generation aircraft carriers and the Royal Air Force. As of early 2014, the USMC plans are for 340 F-35Bs, the UK 138 aircraft and Italy 30 aircraft from a previous requirement of 90 F-35Bs. Spain has expressed interest in the F-35B. The maiden flight was carried out on June 11, 2008, and the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is set for July 2016 or later after some unexpected issues with the airplane's software.
Italy30 Italy initial commitment was for 131 aircraft but due to cost escalate that number was set down to 90 in late 2011 and only 30 by 2014.
United Kingdom48 The purchase of the F-35B by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force was dumped in October 2010 due to UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review favoring the purchase of the carrier-based F-35C. In May 2012, the UK MoD announced its intention to switch to the F-35B STOVL aircraft. Before May 2014 the UK plans called for up to 138 aircraft but since the program scopce has been set for 48 airplanes Aircraft ordered under Lot 3 (2); Lot 4 (1); Lot 7 (1); Lot 8 (4); Lot 9 (6); Lot 11 (1)
RAF estimate in December 2010 for a single squadron equipped with 25 aircraft
United States of America340 So far 71 aircraft ordered in Lot 2 (6), Lot 3 (7), Lot 4 (16), Lot 5 (3), Lot 6 (6), Lot 7 (6); Lot 8 (6); Lot 9 (6); Lot 10 (9); Lot 11 (6)