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Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multi-role combat aircraft designed to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.

F-35 Lightning at Luke Air Force Base, Utah
F-35 Lightning at Luke AFB, Utah (USAF Photo)

Nine countries are involved in its development: United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia.

The F-35 is designed to replace aging fighter inventories including U.S. Air Force F-16s and A-10s, U.S. Navy F/A-18s, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18s, and U.K. Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.

With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35A provides next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations.

The F-35’s engine produces 43,000 lbs of thrust and consists of a 3-stage fan, a 6-stage compressor, an annular combustor, a single stage high-pressure turbine, and a 2 stage low-pressure turbine.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Multirole fighter
Prime Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Power Plant: One Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine
Thrust: 43,000 pounds
Wingspan: 35 feet (10.7 meters)
Length: 51 feet (15.7 meters)
Height: 14 feet (4.38 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 70,000 pound class
Fuel Capacity: Internal: 18,498 pounds
Payload: 18,000 pounds (8,160 kilograms)
Speed: Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph)
Range: More than 1,350 miles with internal fuel (1,200+ nautical miles), unlimited with aerial refueling
Ceiling: Above 50,000 feet (15 kilometers)
Armament: Internal and external capability. Munitions carried vary based on mission requirements.
Crew: One


F-35 Variants

The Lightning II has three main variants (see photos below):

  • F-35A: conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL)
  • F-35B: short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL)
  • F-35C: carrier-based (CV)

F-35 Lightning II Photos

F-35 Lightnings in flight ... F-35A, F-35B and F-35C (top to bottom) (USAF Photo)
F-35 Lightnings in flight ... F-35A, F-35B and F-35C
U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning in flight (US Air Force Photo)
U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning in flight
F-35B Lightning landing on carrier (US Navy Photo)
F-35B Lightning landing on carrier
U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning in flight (National Museum of the US Navy Photo)
U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning in flight


More Resources About the F-35

F-35 at Lockheed Martin

F-35 Lightning II Fact Sheet at the U.S. Air Force Website

F-35A Lightning II Demo Team