The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth generation,single engine, all-weather multirole stealth fighter developed by Lockheed Martin. It took its first flight on December 15,2006.
In the year 1997, Lockheed Martin was one of two companies who were selected to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter demonstration that was conducted to choose the manufacturer of the F-35.
The Lockheed Martin was chosen as the winner of the competition and collaborated with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman to begin production of the aircraft.
Why There Was A Need Of F-35 ?
The question comes why there was a need of F-35 aircraft ? The answer is that the United States Air Force need a single engine aircraft that could be game changer for them.
And secondly they wanted to replace the aging aircraft’s like F-16 , A-10, U.S. Navy F/A-18, AV-8B Harriers ,F/A-18 etc.
The development program received a lot of criticism because it was going to be the costliest program of that time for a single-engine aircraft ever .
A numerous design deficiencies were found in the aircraft like carrying a small internal payload, incompatable design of the wings unlike the F-16, cost of the jet (too costly for a single engine jet) and the stealth feature was also challenged.
Improvements That Were Introduced In the F-35 Lightning II
After facing a lot of criticism, several improvements were introduced in the aircraft :
- The durability of the aircraft was increased i.e. the aircraft can be used for a long period of time.
- The stealth feature was upgraded and its stealth feature maintenance cost was reduced.
- High-speed data networking was include for a better communication and target identification.
- Advance flight simulator were introduced because they were used for the pilot training to reduce the cost of the flight hours of the actual jet.
Specifications Of F-35 Lightning II
Here are some of the specifications of the aircraft:
|Wing Area of aircraft||42.7 m|
|Empty Weight of aircraft||13,154 kg|
|Weight with Payload||22,426 kg|
|Fuel capacity||8,382 kg|
|Maximum takeoff weight||32,000 kg|
|Powerplant||1 × Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan|
|Afterburn thrust||191 kN|
|Role||Stealth Multirole Fighter|
|Manufacturer||Lockheed Martin Aeronautics|
|Program cost||$1.508 trillion|
|Unit cost||$89.2 million|
|Status||currently in service|
The most fascinating thing about this aircraft is that it can takeoff and land vertically as well as horizontally. this means it does not require any runway to takeoff as well as land .
This aircraft can land anywhere due to it’s vertical landing capability.
What makes F-35 Lightning II so special?
What makes F-35 Lightning II so special and different from other jets? let’s find out.
1. Electronic Attack
Yes, you real it right! It enable the F-35 pilot to locate and track enemy targets, jam their radars and also disrupts their attacks with the help of Advance Warfare System .
It’s advance avionics system enables the pilot to access real-time battle information with a coverage area of 360 degrees and the aircraft is ready to face any weather and environmental conditions.
2. Unbeatable Stealth Technology
Stealth technology plays a very important role in today’s modern and advanced aircraft’s .
The stealth capabilities of F-35 Lightning II stealth are unbeatable in it’s single engine competitors. It’s advance air-frame design and advanced materials makes it virtually invisible to the enemy jet.
Stealth feature add’s a plus point ti it’s specifications.
3. Engine (Power-plant)
F-35 Lightning II uses Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan power-plant which produces 128 KN of military thrust and 191 KN of after burn.
The Pratt & Whitney F135 was developed specially for the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. This provides the aircraft to land and takeoff vertically as well as horizontally.
The aircraft is having a 20- by 8-inch digitally advance touch screen cockpit.
It’s also having a helmet mounted display system for the better vision.The jet is operated by a joystick called HOTAS side stick.
5. Sensors And Radar
The F-35 is having the most advanced range of sensors and radar in the single engine jet category. It can detect the targets several miles away from it without getting in the enemy’s radar range.
It uses the AN/APG-81 AESA radar system.
According to me, F-35 Lightning II is the best and the most advanced single engine jet ever made .
What are your views on this? Let us know in the comments section below.