The very first female pilot to fly the US Air Force F-35 fighter aircraft. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing testing and final development. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based CATOBAR (CV) variant.
The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Other major F-35 industry partners include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006. The United States plans to buy 2,443 aircraft. The F-35 variants are intended to provide the bulk of its manned tactical airpower for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy over the coming decades. Deliveries of the F-35 for the U.S. military are scheduled to be completed in 2037.
F-35 JSF development is being principally funded by the United States with additional funding from partners. The partner nations are either NATO members or close U.S. allies. The United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey are part of the active development program; Several additional countries have ordered, or are considering ordering, the F-35.
The F-35 appears to be a smaller, single-engine sibling of the twin-engine Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, and indeed drew elements from it. The exhaust duct design was inspired by the General Dynamics Model 200 design, proposed for a 1972 supersonic VTOL fighter requirement for the Sea Control Ship. Lockheed consulted with the Yakovlev Design Bureau in the F-35B STOVL variant's development, purchasing design data from their development of the Yakovlev Yak-141 "Freestyle". Although several experimental designs have been developed since the 1960s, such as the unsuccessful Rockwell XFV-12, the F-35B is to be the first operational supersonic, STOVL stealth fighter.
Acquisition deputy to the assistant secretary of the Air Force, Lt. Gen. Mark D. "Shack" Shackelford has said that the F-35 is designed to be America's "premier surface-to-air missile killer and is uniquely equipped for this mission with cutting edge processing power, synthetic aperture radar integration techniques, and advanced target recognition." Lockheed Martin states the F-35 is intended to have close- and long-range air-to-air capability second only to that of the F-22 Raptor. Lockheed Martin has said that the F-35 has the advantage over the F-22 in basing flexibility and "advanced sensors and information fusion". Lockheed Martin has suggested that the F-35 could replace the USAF's F-15C/D fighters in the air superiority role and the F-15E Strike Eagle in the ground attack role, although the F-35 lacks the range of the F-15.
Some improvements over current-generation fighter aircraft are:
Durable, low-maintenance stealth technology, using structural fiber mat instead of the high-maintenance coatings of legacy stealth platforms;
Integrated avionics and sensor fusion that combine information from off- and on-board sensors to increase the pilot's situational awareness and improve target identification and weapon delivery, and to relay information quickly to other command and control (C2) nodes;
High speed data networking including IEEE 1394b and Fibre Channel. (Fibre Channel is also used on Boeing's Super Hornet.)
The Autonomic Logistics Global Sustainment (ALGS), Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) and Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) are to help ensure aircraft uptime with minimal maintenance manpower. The Pentagon has moved to open up the competitive bidding by other companies. This was after Lockheed Martin stated that instead of costing twenty percent less than the F-16 per flight hour, the F-35 would actually cost twelve percent more. Though the ALGS is intended to reduce maintenance costs, the company disagrees with including the cost of this system in the aircraft ownership calculations. The USMC have implemented a workaround for a cyber vulnerability in the system.
Electro-hydrostatic actuators run by a power-by-wire flight-control system.
A modern and updated flight simulator, which may be used for a greater fraction of pilot training in order to reduce the costly flight hours of the actual aircraft.
Lightweight, powerful and volatile Lithium-ion batteries similar to