Monitoringclub.org | F 35 Fact Sheet – The F-35 Lightning II or known as the F-35 fighter jet is the latest generation or 5th generation fighter jet made by the leading defense system manufacturer Lockheed Martin from the United States (US). The F-35 has a number of advantages when compared to previous generation fighter jets and is predicted to be a fighter aircraft capable of carrying out all current and future missions.
Full stealth features (full stealth) which can be activated when undergoing combat missions causing it to be undetectable by radar, which is one of the advantages of this supersonic fighter jet. Reported by The Avionist, last February when Russia began to invade Ukraine, the US Air Force published photos of 2 US Air Force F-35s that are part of NATO air power in Europe flying patrols over Polish airspace. The photo caught the attention of military analysts because it was known that the two F-35s were not fitted with a radar deflector reflector.
Radar reflectors are a tool commonly used in peacetime to reduce radar footprints and indicate the aircraft is not operating in full stealth mode, the absence of a visible radar reflector proves that both fighter jets are operating in full stealth mode which is not detected by radar. The F-35 technology is considered one of the highest achievements in the world of military aviation in modern times.
F 35 Fact Sheet
Want to know more about the F-35? Here are 5 F 35 Fact Sheet!
1. Aircraft with expensive development programs
The development of the F-35 fighter jet, which is an amalgamation of various fighter aircraft programs, is one of the most expensive, complex and controversial military programs to date. According to NBCnews, with estimated total cost lifetime The F-35, which costs $1.6 trillion in development, purchasing and operating costs over its product lifecycle, is the most expensive US weapons systems program ever created. Even though it is expensive, US military officials are unmoved because there is no alternative program and believe this program is important for the strength of the US military in the future.
Despite a number of obstacles, in the 2015-2019 range all variants of the F-35 have been operating and serving in the US military. According to Forbes, at least until 2021, 400 F-35 variants have been handed over by the manufacturer to the US military and about 200 units have been handed over to partners of US allies who are allowed to buy them.
Price per unit of F-35 as reported Forbes now it has dropped to around USD 78 million, which is able to compete with 4th generation aircraft, such as: F-15EX, Rafale and Grippen which has a price range between US$85 million to US$100 million. Its hourly operating costs are also expected to fall over the next three years as the Lockheed Martin manufacturer has been awarded a spare parts procurement and ongoing maintenance contract for the F-35.
2. The F-35 has three main variants
According to Lockheedmartin The F-35 has three main variants with their respective capabilities, the variants are as follows:
- The F-35A, designed to operate from conventional airstrips, is the most common variant. The US Air Force and the majority of allied countries that own the F-35 operate this variant.
- The F-35B, is designed to be able to land vertically like a helicopter and take off from very short runways. This variant is capable of operating from very simple short runways or from the decks of warships capable of carrying limited air power. In the previous generation, this ability was possessed by fighter aircraft Harrier Jump Jet. The F-35B is operated by the US Marines, British and Italian Air Force.
- The F-35C, designed as the US Navy’s first stealth fighter, has a long-range strike capability and was specifically built to operate from aircraft carriers. Currently the US Department of the Navy is the largest and exclusive operator of this variant.
All F-35 variants are capable of carrying weapons, both internally (stored in the gun bay) when in full stealth mode (full stealth) or externally outside the fuselage when not in stealth mode. The F-35 has a total weapon-carrying capability of more than 8 tons, a number of advanced weapons such as air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground and sea missiles capable of carrying it. Visually, the three variants look almost the same in shape, although if you look closely, there are a number of differences.
3. It is a fighter jet platform that will become a multi-role fighter aircraft
According to Forbes, When the F-35 development program began in 1992, the F-35 was projected to be a one-stop fighter jet to address the needs of three different fighter aircraft in the US: Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in one air frame. The F-35 is a single-engine, single-seat fighter for all its variants..
As is known, in the previous generation the functions of fighter jets were distinguished by prefix codes in front of the model such as: F (Fighter), A (Attack) and E (Electronic Warfare), in the future, as a 5th generation fighter jet equipped with technology The latest and most advanced, the F-35 will be a multi-role fighter jet capable of being an air superiority fighter (Fighter), surface attack (Attack) to intelligence gathering and electronic warfare.
According to Air Force in the future the F-35 will replace the aging US air fleet in one platform such as: F-16, F/A-18 fighter jets, A-10 Thunderbolt attack fighter, and jump jet US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier. Reported military, currently the number of F-35s has exceeded the number of F-15 and A-10 Thunderbolt fighter jets and is the second largest fighter jet fleet in the US fighter aircraft inventory.
4. Have engaged in real combat missions
The F-35 has been engaged in real combat missions, According to Military Times, in early 2018, for the first time a US Marine F-35B successfully attacked an enemy target in Afghanistan and the mission was its first successful mission. With superior radar and sensors throughout its body, the F-35’s weapons are capable of destroying targets from a very long distance (beyond visual range).
Data on the battlefield can be presented in full visually on a display that is integrated with the pilot’s very sophisticated helmet. The F-35 pilot helmet is able to see through the outside of the fuselage and replace the function Head Up Display (HUD) in the cockpit.
In addition to having been involved in combat missions, a number of accident records have also occurred due to technical errors or human error. The latest as reported New York Post, in January 2022 there was an accident when a US F-35C failed to land on the US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, injuring some of the crew and the ship plunged into the ocean but the pilot survived.
5. Sold outside the US through military co-op and sales programs
The F-35 is a state-of-the-art fighter the US sells outside its home country through cooperation programs and military sales to countries that are allowed to buy it. The countries that are currently operating the F-35 are countries that are US allies and NATO members. Reported by Lockheedmartin, currently outside the US there are 13 countries that have been and will become operators of the F-35 fighter jet, namely: Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Belgium and Singapore.
Fighter jet technology was first introduced by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) shortly before World War II ended. The Messerschmitt Me-262 was a fighter jet that became operational in 1944 and was an entirely new technology that took the Allies by surprise.
After the war ended the Me-262 technology became the basis for the development of the world of fighter jets by the war-winning Allied countries. In only about 78 years since it was first operational until today, the fighter jet has evolved into a super-advanced weapon and also determines victory on the battlefield.
Hopefully this information can add to your insight into one of the latest generation of fighter jets, yes! Happy in the air!