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F-35 Lightning II

The F-35 Lightning II is the result of the Department of Defense's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, which sought to build a multirole fighter optimized for the air-to-ground role with secondary air-to-air capability. The JSF requirement was to meet the needs of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allies, with improved survivability, precision engagement capability, and reduced life cycle costs. The core engine, canopy, radar, ejection system, subsystems, and avionics are all common among the three different versions.

Contractor

Primary contractor: Lockheed Martin

F-35A Conventional Takeoff and Landing Variant

The conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant includes an internal gun, infrared sensors, and laser designator. This is the technologically simplest version of the JSF, in that it does not require hover or aircraft carrier capability. Therefore it does not require the vertical thrust or the handling qualities for catapult launches, augmented control authority at landing approach speeds and strengthened structure to handle arrested landings.
F-35A Conventional Takeoff and Landing Variant Copyright © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann, U.S. Air Force

Status

On trials

Crew

1 Pilot

Capacity

8 164,67 kilograms of mixed ordnance 18 000 pounds of mixed ordnance

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 15.67 meters 51.4 feet
Wingspan: 10.67 meters 35 feet
Height: 4.39 meters 14.4 feet
Horizontal tail span: 6.86 meters 22.5 feet
Weight
Empty weight: ~13 290 kilograms 29 300 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: ~31 750 kilograms 70 000 pound class
Features
Power plant: one Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine
Thrust (with afterburner): ~18 144 kilograms 40 000 pounds
Thrust (without afterburner): ~11 340 kilograms 25 000 pounds
Internal fuel capacity: ~8 255 kilograms 18 200 pounds
Speed (full internal weapons load): Mach 1.6 (~1 930 kilometers per hour) (1 200 miles per hour)
Ceiling: 15 000+ meters 50 000+ feet
Range (internal fuel only): 1 200+ nautical miles (2 220+ kilometers) (1 380+ miles)
Combat radius (internal fuel only): 590+ nautical miles (1 090+ kilometers) (670+ miles)

F-35B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing Variant

The distinguishing feature of the F-35B is its short takeoff/vertical landing capability (STOVL). The F-35B variant is designed to operate from austere bases and a range of air-capable ships near front-line combat zones. It can also take off and land conventionally from longer runways on major bases. There will not be an internally mounted machine gun, but an external gun can be fitted. This version requires controllability on all axes while hovering. Another critical design feature is its impact on the ground surface beneath it during hover.
F-35B Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing Variant Copyright © Cpl. Sarah Cherry, U.S. Marine Corps

Status

On trials

Crew

1 Pilot

Capacity

8 164,67 kilograms of mixed ordnance 18 000 pounds of mixed ordnance

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 15.61 meters 51.2 feet
Wingspan: 10.67 meters 35 feet
Height: 4.36 meters 14.3 feet
Horizontal tail span: 6.64 meters 21.8 feet
Weight
Empty weight: ~14 650 kilograms 32 300 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: ~27 215 kilograms 60 000 pound class
Features
Power plant: one Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine
Thrust (with afterburner): ~17 237 kilograms 38 000 pounds
Thrust (without afterburner): ~11 793 kilograms 26 000 pounds
Thrust (vertical): ~18 370 kilograms 40 500 pounds
Internal fuel capacity: ~5 942 kilograms 13 100 pounds
Speed (full internal weapons load): Mach 1.6 (~1 930 kilometers per hour) (1 200 miles per hour)
Ceiling: 15 000+ meters 50 000+ feet
Range (internal fuel only): 900+ nautical miles (1 660+ kilometers) (1 030+ miles)
Combat radius (internal fuel only): 450+ nautical miles (830+ kilometers) (510+ miles)

F-35C Carrier Variant

The carrier variant has larger wing and tail control surfaces to enable low-speed approaches to aircraft carriers. Leading edge flaps and foldable wing tip sections account for this increased wing area. The larger wing area also provides the F-35C with an increased payload capability. To support the stresses of carrier landings and catapult launches, the internal structure of this version is strengthened. In addition, the landing gear has longer stroke and higher load capacity, and of course an arresting hook is added. Like the F-35A, the carrier variant will also incorporate an internal gun and sensors.