Lockheed Martin F-35

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
F-35A flight (cropped) .jpg
An F-35A in flight
Type: Multipurpose fighter
Design country:

United StatesUnited States United States


Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

First flight:

December 15, 2006


July 31, 2015

Production time:

In series production since 2011

Number of pieces:

500 (as of February 2020)

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a stealth , multi- role fighter aircraft that emerged from the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program of the US Department of Defense . It is intended to replace the F-16 Fighting Falcon or even older aircraft in many western air forces , with the US Air Force remaining by far the largest customer. For them it is already the fourth stealth pattern procured; However, since the predecessors F-117 , B-2 and F-22 were not exported, it is the first of its kind for the partner countries. The fighter aircraft is provided in three different versions.


The F-35 is a multi - role combat aircraft designed to replace the General Dynamics F-16 , McDonnell Douglas F / A-18 , General Dynamics F-111, and the AV-8B Harrier-II jets. The aim of the project is to provide a combat aircraft with stealth technology and modern avionics, the stealth capabilities of which are reduced compared to the F-22 Raptor , but which, due to the resulting lower price, enables large numbers to be purchased. The F-35 closes the gap between the air superiority fighter F-22 Raptor of the US Air Force and the F / A-18E / F Super Hornet of the US Navy , which has only limited stealth capabilities.

Production variants

The F-35 (JSF) is manufactured in three main variants, which are tailored to the needs of the respective customer. All three types have stealth capabilities as long as no weapons are carried in outside positions.

  • F-35A : A conventional take-off and landing ( CTOL ) aircraft for the US Air Force and export.
  • F-35B : A short take-off vertical landing capability ( STOVL ) aircraft used by the US Marine Corps , the Italian Navy, and the Royal Air Force (RAF) / Royal Navy (RN). The F-35B is designed to fly at supersonic speed.
  • F-35C : A carrier-supported variant for the US Navy , the US Marine Corps (and occasionally also considered for the RAF / RN) with larger wings, folding wing ends, reinforced landing gear and catch hooks. In 2012, the Turkish Air Force initially ordered a copy for assessment, if necessary the F-35C may be partially or completely considered instead of the F-35A, which, however, would not be stationed at sea.


X-35A photographed from a KC-135 Stratotanker

X-35 JSF

The requirements for the JSF arose from the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program. As part of the program, Boeing built the X-32 , while Lockheed Martin built the X-35 . Two X-35 machines were built to prove that the JSF requirements could be met. In particular, the usability of the VTOL technology had to be demonstrated.

The basic version of the JSF, the X-35A, made its maiden flight on October 24, 2000 in Palmdale ( California / USA ). The test program was completed in November, after which work on the conversion to the X-35B could begin. The X-35B is an aircraft that can take off and land vertically ( VTOL ), but mainly the STOVL variant is used. The first hover over a grating took place on February 22, 2001. The first transition from hovering to level flight took place on July 3 at Edwards AFB (USA), the transition from level flight to vertical landing was successful on July 16, 2001. The last variant of the JSF, the X-35C, is designed for use on conventional (catapult) aircraft carriers (CV). The main distinguishing features are the enlarged wings, the reinforced landing gear and the catch hook at the stern. The first flight took place on December 16, 2000 in Palmdale (California / USA), 250 simulated aircraft carrier landings were carried out between January 3, 2001 and March 10, 2001.

All three variants have proven supersonic capability. Due to the numerous changes to the aircraft, both X-35s are going to museums. The X-35C was handed over to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum on July 16, 2003 , and the X-35A / B to the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum on September 26, 2003 .

Further development to the F-35

F-35A prototype AA-1
Vertical landing of the F-35B prototype BF-2
Imprint of the participating states on the hull

On October 26, 2001 it was decided to award the construction contract for the future Joint Strike Fighter to Lockheed Martin. For further development and production, Lockheed Martin joined forces with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman to form the Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF team . Both Pratt & Whitney and a consortium of Rolls-Royce and General Electric were commissioned to develop the drive system . However, the government under George W. Bush decided to dissolve the 2.4 billion euro contract with Rolls-Royce, so that Pratt & Whitney became the sole manufacturer of the F-35 engines (see text ). Production of the test aircraft began on July 13, 2004.

A two-seat version of the F-35 is not planned, but Israel has shown interest in a possible two-seat variant of the F-35D.

On July 13, 2004, production of the 22 new prototypes (including 14 airworthy) with the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine began . The thrust vector nozzle and the vertical flight control were developed with the help of the Russian company Jakowlew on the basis of the technologies of the Jak-141 . Lockheed Martin had agreed a collaboration with Jakowlew in 1991, which lasted until 1997 and financed the further development of the Jak-141. The contract for the production of the F136 alternative engine from Rolls-Royce and General Electric was canceled by the USA.

On March 15, 2006, Spiegel Online reported that, according to statements by the US Department of Defense , the camouflage capability could probably not live up to its original promise. In response to this new information, Australian Defense Secretary Brendan Nelson raised concerns about the aircraft; the British government (3rd Blair cabinet ) even threatened to withdraw from development (for other reasons).

On July 7, 2006, the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force , General T. Michael Moseley , announced the name of the F-35 at the Lockheed Martins location in Fort Worth ( Texas ): It is now called Lightning II and is thus in the tradition of Lockheed built P-38 Lightning , a World War II fighter , and the English Electric Lightning , a British interceptor of the 1960s.

On December 12, 2006, the Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson signed a letter of intent in Washington DC to allow Australia to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter Program (JSF). For 2007, the US Department of Defense had only approved funds for two F-35A's; for 2008, 6.1 billion US dollars were earmarked for the production of twelve machines, including six F-35A and six F-35B. The US Department of Defense had planned 16 machines for fiscal year 2009.

With a volume of almost 400 billion US dollars for the US armed forces alone and a planned production of more than 2,700 machines, it is considered the most expensive armaments program in the world (as of the end of 2018). The machines are developed and finished in the United States , but many assemblies and subsystems are manufactured in several partner countries as part of industrial participation.

Development partner

A total of nine countries are involved in the development of the F-35, eleven are planning to purchase this type, two of which are only options. Starting with the USA as the main developer, the other states are divided into so-called partner levels. Among other things, this indicates what influence a state has on development and how much insight it has into aircraft technology. The percentage shares in the program are based primarily on the investments of the respective countries.

In December 2010, Lockheed Martin planned with a total of up to 3,156 machines:

Level Share
in percent
nation F-35A F-35B F-35C
Level 0 88.8 United States 1763 353 347
Level 1 05.1 Great Britain - 138 -
Level 2 02.5 Italy 60 030th -
02.0 Netherlands 46 - -
Level 3 00.4 Turkey 0–100 (+16 option)
canceled in 2019
- -
00.4 Australia 72 - -
00.3 Norway 46 (+6) - -
00.3 Denmark 27 - -
00.1 Canada 0 (65-88 option) - -
00.1 Japan 107 040 -
SCP Israel 50 - -
Belgium 34 - -
total 100, 0 total 2,196-2,390 561 347

Notes : The figures for Italy are from June 2012, those for the UK from April 2016 and those for Australia from April 2014.

Testing program

The F-35A took off on December 15, 2006 in Fort Worth on its maiden flight , which however had to be stopped after 32 minutes due to technical problems. After a short-term failure of the on-board power supply almost led to a crash at the beginning of May 2007, test flight operations of the F-35 were suspended until December 7, 2007. The first F-35A (AF-1) corresponding to series production was on December 19, 2008 , the first F-35B, its rollout on January 21, 2009. The AF-1 completed its maiden flight on November 14, 2009. On February 25, 2011, the first F-35A (AF-06) took off from series production. On May 5, 2011, the first F-35A (AF-07) was delivered to the US Air Force.

On June 11, 2008, the F-35B prototype flew for the first time, but without testing the STOVL properties. The machine was flown by BAE test pilot Graham Tomlinson. The approach to hovering flight was originally planned for the beginning of 2009, the first STOVL test flight took place on January 7, 2010. During this test flight, the lift fan was tested for about 14 minutes in level flight for the first time. The first vertical landing took place on March 18, 2010 with the prototype BF-1. The specified landing area was 30 by 30 meters. On October 3, 2011, the first vertical landing of the F-35B prototype BF-2b took place on the USS Wasp (LHD-1) .

The rollout of the first F-35C prototype (CF-1) took place on July 28, 2009. The first flight followed on June 6, 2010. As part of the testing, the first carrier landing of the F-35C took place on November 3, 2014 on the USS Nimitz off the coast of San Diego.

Some of the European specimens are to be final assembly at Alenia Aeronautica at the Cameri military airfield . The first parts of the fuselage arrived from the USA in June 2013 and on March 12, 2015, the first F-35 for Italy had its rollout.

From May 18, 2015, the US Marine Corps will test the use of the aircraft from a carrier with six machines on the USS Wasp . The first aerial combat tests against F-16D followed in June and July 2015. It turned out that the F-35 is partially inferior to the F-16 in cornering combat. A test pilot said that the F-35 was “ substantially inferior to the F-15E ” (German: “clearly inferior to the F-15E ”), which was due to the smaller wing area compared to the F-15E, as well as the lower afterburner thrust with approximately the same weight attributed.

Test aircraft
Identifier First flight description
AA-01 December 15, 2006 First aircraft in the system development phase (SDD) and first A version. 91 flights until December 17, 2009. Has been used for fire attempts since then.
AF-01 November 14, 2009 First near-series version with significant weight savings compared to the AA-01.
AF-02 April 20, 2010 With AF-01 on Edwards AFB. Mainly intended for weapon testing.
AF-03 July 7, 2010 Second SDD aircraft with full avionics equipment.
AF-04 December 30, 2010 -
AG-01 - Floor static test cell. Completed July 2009 and start of testing.
AJ-01 - Floor static test cell. Completed in mid-2010 and testing started.
BF-01 June 11, 2008 First B-version aircraft. Since November 15, 2009 in Patuxent River. First vertical landing on March 18, 2010.
BF-02 February 25, 2009 Air refueling attempts in August 2009. Was the first F-35s to internally carry GBU-12 bombs and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. Since December 29, 2009 in Patuxent River.
BF-03 February 2, 2010 Was the first machine to use a 2nd generation helmet visor and was later mainly used to evaluate aerodynamics, resilience and systems. Since February 17, 2010 in Patuxent River.
BF-04 April 7, 2010 First SDD aircraft with full mission avionics. Today in Patuxent River.
BF-05 January 27, 2011 last STOVL test aircraft in the SDD phase.
BG-01 - Floor static test cell. Completed in spring 2008 and testing started.
BH-01 - Floor static test cell. Completed in 2010 and start of testing. In November 2010 cracks appeared in the rear part of the trunk.
CF-01 June 6, 2010 First C variant aircraft. Since November 2010 in Patuxent River.
CF-02 April 29, 2011 Test operations in Patuxent River are scheduled to begin in 2011.
CF-03 - First carrier landing of an F-35C on November 3, 2014 on the USS Nimitz .
CG-01 - Floor static test cell. Completed in March 2010 and start of testing. Drop tests at Vought Aircraft in Dallas.
CJ-01 - Floor static test cell. Start of testing planned for early 2012.


Lockheed delivered three aircraft a month in mid-2015, this rate was originally set to increase to 20 in 2016, but Lockheed announced that it would expect a production rate of 17 aircraft per month in the 2020s due to austerity measures and other delays of the program.

On August 2, 2016, the F-35A received Initial Operating Capability status .



The first combat deployment of the F-35 took place in May 2018 as part of the Israeli military operations in the civil war in Syria . Israeli F-35s attacked ground targets in Syria .

On September 27, 2018, US F-35Bs of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) flew from the USS Essex (LHD-2) to attack Afghanistan for the first time .


On September 28, 2018, a USMC F-35B crashed near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort , South Carolina . The pilot was able to save himself with his ejector seat .

On April 9, 2019, contact with a Japanese F-35A was lost 135 km east of Misawa . During a subsequent search, debris from the machine was recovered from the sea, and the pilot is considered missing.


Special features and application requirements

The technically most striking feature of the F-35 are its distinctive stealth properties, which compared to conventional multi-purpose combat aircraft (e.g. F-15E or Su-30 ) reduce the range of enemy reconnaissance technology to a fraction. This is intended to neutralize the threat posed by ever more extensive guided missiles and sensors as well as possible. In addition, there has been a strong focus on networked warfare and situational awareness so that the machine has multiple powerful sensors, data links and user interfaces. Thanks to the interaction of these technologies, enemy forces are to be located and fought at a great distance before they can even detect the F-35. For this reason, in contrast to other current models (e.g. Eurofighter or Su-35 ), no increased emphasis was placed on maneuverability in order to be able to optimize costs and stealth properties. For the first time, a simple and inexpensive maintenance of the cloak properties was given high priority, as this turned out to be very complex with the previous cloak patterns, which massively increased the operating costs while at the same time reducing the operational readiness.

Due to the enormous technical and financial dimensions of the program, it has a large political profile and is widely discussed at all levels. On the technical side, doubts are often expressed about the stealth properties and criticized the relatively poor maneuverability, which is said to be significantly less than advertised. Due to the very limited capacity of the internal weapon bays, the machine also lacks firepower and stamina. The plan to replace the inexpensive A-10 Thunderbolt II , which specializes in close air support , with the more expensive and considerably higher-flying F-35 is also viewed critically . On the financial side, in addition to the generally high program costs, the numerous delays and cost overruns, which are mostly due to problems in complex software development, are particularly often criticized. The planned savings in maintenance and logistics are often viewed with skepticism, as these are considerably more complex than conventional models.


Dummy cockpit of an F-35
Newly developed "Helmet Mounted Display System" of the F-35

In contrast to the cockpit of the F-22 , which mainly consists of four large multifunctional displays , a single so-called panorama cockpit display (PCD) is used in the F-35. This is approximately 50 cm wide and 20 cm high. The primary display is intended to improve the overview for the pilot, just as the touch screen design is intended to relieve the pilot (see section Avionics ). Voice control (voice control), which in the F-35 includes both voice recognition and voice output (direct voice input), should also contribute to the relief . The F-35 will be the first US fighter aircraft to feature voice control as a series machine, after test runs have already been carried out on the F-16 VISTA and the AV-8B Harrier . European machines like the Eurofighter or the Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripen , on the other hand, already use voice control as standard. Another significant relief for the pilot is a new Delta Flight Path (DFP) landing mode for the F-35C, which partially automates the critical phase, i.e. the last seconds of a landing on an aircraft carrier. DFP is a type of autopilot that tracks the glide path to the carrier and includes wind and the ship's speed vector in the calculation. DFP uses a control system (Integrated Direct Lift Control) which influences the lift by means of the control flaps instead of the thrust. This ensures a faster reaction and thus the control is more direct.

In contrast to the F-22, the cockpit canopy is not made from a single piece. Identical to the F-22, the F-35's cockpit features the thrust lever on the left-hand side and the sidestick on the right-hand side . This means that the F-35 also corresponds to the HOTAS design.

The Martin-Baker US16E is used as an ejection seat in all F-35 variants .



F135-600 engine of the F-35B with output shaft to the Rolls-Royce lift fan
F135 engine on the test bench
F135-600 powerplant with output shaft (left) in Le Bourget 2009

The single-engine design of the F-35 made a powerful engine necessary to meet the requirements in air combat. The Pratt & Whitney -F135- and the General Electric / Rolls-Royce -F136- turbofan engine were initially available, although the latter is no longer being developed. This means that all F-35 machines will be equipped with the F135 engine. It is currently the most powerful engine that is being built for fighter aircraft. The STOVL- capable F-35B is also equipped with the Rolls-Royce lift system.

Pratt & Whitney F135

The Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan is the primary engine for the F-35. It is manufactured in three versions: the F135-100 for the F-35A, the F135-400 for the F-35C and the F135-600 for the F-35B. The F135-100 and -400 are largely identical (in the F135-400, all salt-corrosive alloys have been replaced for maritime conditions ), whereas the F135-600 is equipped with the Rolls-Royce lift system.

The F135 was developed from the F-22's F119 engine and, in all variants, generates 191.3 kN of thrust with afterburner or 128.1 kN without afterburner. According to Pratt & Whitney, the serviceability of the F135 has been improved over the engines of the F-16 ( Pratt & Whitney F100 and General Electric F110 ) and the reliability has been improved. Contributing to this is that the engine has around 40% fewer parts than its predecessor. Fewer personnel are required to change the engine.

The original plan was to equip the F135 with the same two-dimensional thrust vector control that the F-22 already used. The single-engine design would not have made it possible to improve the rolling movements of the F-35, but there would have been an increase in the performance of the tilting movements. In addition, the rectangular shape of the nozzle, also derived from the F-22, was intended to reduce the infrared and radar signature . It is unclear why the decision was made against 2D thrust vector control and in favor of conventional round nozzles.

Noise measurements with the F-35A prototype AA-1 showed that the F-35 is 10 to 18 dB louder than an F-15 . Translated into linear proportions, this is an increase in sound pressure of two to three times.

General Electric / Rolls-Royce F136

The F136 is a further development of the YF120 engine. This was originally developed for the "Advanced Tactical Fighter" and built into the YF-22 and YF-23 . In the selection process, the YF120 was then defeated by the YF119 and was never mass-produced. For the JSF, General Electric resorted to the YF120 and formed a consortium with Rolls-Royce, with GE contributing 60% and RR 40%. This finally resulted in the F136, which completed its first test run on July 21, 2004 at the test facility in Evendale ( Ohio ). The prototype achieved a maximum thrust of around 178 kN and 106 kN dry thrust .

In August 2005, General Electric was awarded a $ 2.4 billion development contract. This envisaged the completion of the F136 by 2013. On February 6, 2006, the US government dissolved the development contract with the consortium led by General Electric and Rolls-Royce and used competitor Pratt & Whitney as the sole engine supplier for the F-35. The reason for this was that the F135 is a further development of the F119 engine used in the F-22. Because there is a high level of component conformity, the US Air Force hoped to save about 30% in cost by using the F135 alone. Due to economic policy interests, the decision met with criticism in Great Britain. Since the US Congress was still providing development funds for fiscal 2007 at the end of 2006, General Electric was able to develop the F136 further.

In 2009 the F136 achieved a thrust of over 190 kN on the test bench. When Pratt & Whitney announced cost increases for the F135 in the summer of 2009 , the votes in the US Senate increased to release funds for the F136 again. Especially in export, the market position of the F-35 is to be improved with the choice of two engines. Against the will of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and US President Barack Obama , the House of Representatives voted on July 30, 2009 for the series financing of the F136 engine. However, at the beginning of September 2009, the series financing was removed from the budget in favor of ten more C17 transport machines. In mid-2011, the US Department of Defense ordered GE and Rolls-Royce to finally stop work on the engine. The manufacturers wanted to maintain a core development team with their own financial means and achieve a return of the engine to the defense budget in the coming years, but abandoned this project at the end of 2011.

Rolls Royce Lift System

The Rolls-Royce-Lift-System consists of a ducted propeller , which is connected to the main engine via a gear shaft, the 3-swivel-joint-bearing module (3BSM - Bearing Swivel Module) and compensation nozzles for roll control.

The ducted propeller installed behind the cockpit and consisting of two opposite stages is driven by a two-stage low-pressure turbine of the main engine via a disengageable drive shaft (SDLF - Shaft Driven Lift Fan). It is 1.25 m in diameter and can generate around 80 kN (20,000 lb f ) of vertical thrust.

The 3BSM is a three-part jet pipe that can be rotated through diagonally cut flanges and is used to divert the thrust of the main engine downwards. It can turn over 95 degrees in 2.5 seconds and delivers around 100 kN of thrust. This gives the F-35B a total of around 180 kN of thrust for vertical landing, since the afterburner of the F135-600 cannot be used. For the 3BSM and the inlet and outlet of the ducted propeller, flaps open in the fuselage cladding.

F-35B hovering with the tail nozzle turned down and the flaps open for the fan

Compensating nozzles for roll control in the wings, each delivering around 9 kN (1950 lb f ) thrust, are fed by bleed air from the main engine's compressor.

Rolls-Royce worked with Pratt & Whitney to develop the F135 STOVL propulsion system for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter to ensure interchangeability with the GE Rolls-Royce F136 engine. Rolls-Royce headed the comprehensive development and integration program from its location in Bristol, England, and was responsible for the flow machinery of the LiftFan, 3BSM and the design of the compensation nozzles for the roll control. The team in Indianapolis in the USA supplied the system's gearbox, clutch, cardan shaft and nozzle and managed the installation and testing of the ducted propeller.


Since the F-35 is designed as a multi-role combat aircraft, it has a wide range of missiles and bombs available ( see below ).

An internally built-in four-barrel Gatling gun of the type GAU-22 / A (caliber 25 mm), for which 180 rounds of ammunition are carried, is provided as the barrel armament of the F-35A . Versions B and C of the F-35 do not have this armament, but can be equipped with this weapon in an external weapon container with 220 rounds of ammunition. While the B variant had to do without an internal cannon because of the lift system behind the cockpit, the omission of the F-35C was not without controversy within the US Navy . The concept of foregoing internal cannon armament in favor of a weapon container in a fighter aircraft was last used with the F-4 Phantom during the Vietnam War , but this turned out to be a disadvantage in aerial combat. Therefore, the Navy (like the other US armed forces) had installed a permanently installed on-board cannon in their subsequent fighters, the F-14 and F-18 . New types of FAP bullets from Rheinmetall are used as ammunition . After penetrating the target surface, this armor-piercing ammunition disintegrates into many small, high-energy fragments which cause greater damage inside the target than conventional non-disintegrating projectiles. In this way the ammunition such as for the fight against lightly armored targets armored suitable.

The F-35 carries its primary armament in two internal weapon bays with a total of four load stations. As with the F-22, the internal weapon management was necessary to meet the stealth requirements. The outer of the two internal load carriers can carry heavy weapons such as 2,000 lb Mark-84 bombs, JDAMs , JSOWs , Paveways or Brimstones ; the other two stations are designed for lighter weapons, usually air-to-air missiles. Since the F-35B's internal weapon load is lower due to its design, it can internally carry a maximum of the 1,000-lb-Mark-83 bomb. Since the small dimensions and carrying capacities of the two weapon bays limit the possible uses of the F-35, Lockheed proposed various modifications for the Block 5 version: The plans are to adapt the two internal carriers for heavy loads so that two medium-range Air-to-air missiles can be mounted. This would make it possible to carry an armament consisting of four AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9 Sidewinder internally (instead of the current 2-2 configuration). Furthermore, it would then be possible to carry up to four " Small Diameter Bombs ", similar to what is already done with the F-22. In addition to Lockheed, various manufacturers are also working on adapting their missiles to the weapon bay of the F-35. MBDA is currently developing a variant of the Meteor for the Royal Navy with smaller tail fins so that it can accommodate four such missiles in the weapon bays.

Under the wings of the F-35 there are a total of six external load carriers for carrying weapons (eight on the F-35C), the use of which is at the expense of the stealth properties. Therefore, the external load carriers are usually not used. There are operational profiles in which the external loads are used despite the negative effects on the stealth properties. Since the F-35 can carry more weapons externally than internally, it is used as soon as the stealth properties play only a subordinate role due to the low enemy air defense. Not all weapon types of the F-35 can be mounted in the internal weapon bays. These can be cruise missiles of the Storm Shadow or JASSM type (the only cruise missile that the F-35 can also carry internally is currently the "Joint Strike Missile" , which is only used by Norway and Australia). The AGM-65 and AGM-88 air-to-surface missiles can only be carried externally by the F-35, as can the heaviest bombs in the Paveway series. Additional tanks can also be carried if long operational ranges are required. The two outer carriers near the wing tips are only designed for light short-range air-to-air missiles of the AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-132 ASRAAM type .

The US armed forces are currently planning to use the F-35 as a carrier for nuclear weapons . Originally, the B61 atomic bomb was supposed to be modified from 2017. After the program delays of the F-35, a corresponding integration is not expected before the 2020s. It is not yet known which modifications are necessary for the B61 and whether this can also be carried out internally.

At the end of October 2013, the first test drops and shots with live weapons took place with an F-35B. A GBU-12 bomb was dropped and an AIM-120 AMRAAM guided missile was launched.


The F-35 has highly integrated modular avionics based on the Pave Pace architecture. Here, all data from the sensors and systems are brought together very early on in a central computing system so that they can be linked to one another very flexibly and comprehensively. In contrast to previous architectures, this enables very high-quality sensor fusion and the flexible implementation of new, sometimes unconventional functions (e.g. electronic warfare via radar or cyber war applications). The primary goal here is the best possible situational awareness for the pilot, who should spend as little time as possible interpreting data and operating the system in order to be able to concentrate on the analysis of the tactical situation and decision-making.

When it is commissioned, the F-35 is only the second combat aircraft to feature highly integrated avionics. This concept was used for the first time with the F-22 in the form of the pave-pillar architecture. The pave-pace architecture thus represents the second generation of US American highly integrated avionics. The most important improvement is the introduction of the concept of shared antennas and analog components. Previously, each subsystem (e.g. IFF , Radar or EloKa) used its own antennas exclusively. As a result, the sophisticated systems of the F-22 require a total of 64 separate antennas. In contrast, the F-35 only needs 22 pieces, as several subsystems share a suitable antenna. In addition, the signals are no longer processed by specialized hardware, but simply digitized and then fed into the generic Integrated Common Processors (ICPs).

These ICPs, of which a total of 31 are installed in two racks , represent the "heart" of avionics. The complete data and signal processing takes place on these plug-in cards , which with conventional architectures would otherwise take place in isolation in the individual subsystems. In order to reduce costs and adapt to the ICPs to current developments on these COTS - processors used. Modified PowerPC G4 CPUs were used when it was put into service, so that a total computing power of 75,000 MIPS is available for signal processing . The software is mainly written in C ++ , with some Ada modules from the F-22 being taken over. Integrity-178B RTOS from Green Hills Software is used as the operating system . The high level of integration and the digitization of the antenna system result in very high demands on the data connections between the components and ICPs. A total of 64 Fiber Channel channels are therefore available, each with a bandwidth of 2 Gbit / s . The internal systems for flight control and weapon control are connected to the FireWire data bus, which is also used commercially and can transfer up to 800 Mbit / s. In order to be able to carry older equipment with you at the load stations, these are also equipped with the MIL-STD-1553 , which, however, only has 1 Mbit / s bandwidth.

Radar: AN / APG-81

Antenna system of the APG-81
A SAR image from the APG-81

The APG-81 is the on-board radar of the F-35. It was developed on the basis of experience with the APG-77 and APG-80 and is also based on AESA technology. Compared to the purely mechanical radars of many previous models, this antenna design offers a wide range of advantages, especially in the areas of reliability, interference resistance and range. In addition, it can switch between different operating modes very quickly and, thanks to the pave pace architecture, also take on previously unusual tasks, for example electronic warfare against other radars ( see below for details ).

Like most current multifunctional radars for combat aircraft, the APG-81 also works in the X-band (8–12 GHz), as this frequency range represents a good compromise between range and accuracy. The antenna consists of around 1,600 individual transmitters which, according to the AESA concept, can form one or more radar lobes with very rapidly changing properties. This is particularly advantageous in order to be able to track different targets (e.g. ships and aircraft) without delay. The APG-81 has a total of 32 different operating modes: twelve each for air-to-air and air-to-ground operations, four for electronic warfare and two each for navigation and weather. This high level of agility also makes it difficult for enemy radar warning systems and SIGINT systems to record its emissions when it is in LPI mode. Should the APG-81 nevertheless be detected and disturbed, the agility has a positive effect on the EloSM skills. This was operationally confirmed during the Northern Edge 2009 exercise, and a year later the design team also received the “David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award” for the APG-81's excellent resistance to interference.

Electronic warfare: AN / ASQ-239

The ASQ-239 is responsible for the electronic warfare of the F-35. It is a further development of the ALR-94 of the F-22, which, however , uses significantly fewer antennas due to the pave-pace architecture. The range of functions includes all modern SIGINT applications: recording and determining of radar emissions, warning of approaching missiles, precise location determination of ground-based radars and the direction measurement of airborne radars. The receivers of the ASQ-239 are highly sensitive and can also detect LPI radars that are difficult to detect, such as the APG-77 . A novelty is the ability of the system to carry out offensive electronic countermeasures ; previous cloak patterns had previously relied entirely on the passive protection of cloak technology. The system includes not only the usual infrared and radar decoys also towed radar bluff body type AN / ALE-70, which emit after the discharge generated by the ASQ-239 interference signals at some distance behind the machine. On the one hand, guided missiles with home-on-jam technology can be fooled by this, and on the other hand they can also be used as bait, which offers a more attractive target to an enemy radar seeker than the F-35 itself In addition, the use of any offensive disruptive measures considerably, since much less electrical power is required for self-protection than with conventional designs with a larger RCS.

Due to the fully integrated avionics of the F-35, the ASQ-239 is not limited to its own components like many other EloKa systems. In addition to the ALE-70, it can also access the APG-81 radar and use it for both passive reconnaissance and active countermeasures in accordance with the pave-pace architecture. Its AESA antenna makes it possible to generate interference signals of a strength and quality that are otherwise only possible with specialized EloKa systems such as the AN / ALQ-99 . Thus, an F-35 can also protect other machines in the formation or from a distance against radar-based threats. However, the antenna design results in two fundamental limitations compared to conventional solutions or dedicated EloKa patterns such as the EA-18 Growler : On the one hand, only the front 120 ° sector can be covered, on the other hand, the frequency range is limited to the X-band ( 8–12 GHz). The APG-81 is therefore primarily suitable for disrupting enemy SAM - fire control radars or airborne multifunction radars , as these now work almost exclusively in the X-band in order to achieve the necessary precision for the use of guided weapons. The limitation to the front sector limits the high-performance disruption to the phase of the approach, attacks on the return flight must then be countered with the ALE-70. In addition, disrupting the distance would be possible with two F-35s that fly on a circular path and thus take turns interfering. Another advantage of the highly integrated avionics is the data exchange with your own radar and with other F-35s in the formation via the secure MADL data link. This means that the electronic countermeasures can be precisely coordinated without the pilot having to do anything, so that your own radar pulses are not disturbed and the radar warning function is not impaired, as is the case with many older EloKa systems. In addition, target data from the various ASQ-239 systems can be exchanged within the formation.

Apart from the weight (approx. 90 kg) nothing more has been published about the specifications of the ASQ-239. Also, little is known about the capabilities of the cyberwar component other than its existence. A general in the US Marines ( James F. Amos ) estimated the EloKa potential of the F-35 to be around 85% of what an EA-6 Prowler with the ICAP-III upgrade is capable of.

Optical aiming system: AN / AAQ-40 EOTS

The optical part of the EOTS
Recording of the EOTS sensor

The EOTS (Electro-Optical Targeting System) is an electro-optical targeting system that was developed by Lockheed Martin and is based on the Sniper ATP pod. The system has a diode-based range / target illumination laser and an imaging infrared sensor. This works in the range of the middle infrared spectrum and has a resolution of 1024 × 1024 pixels. The optical system has a telephoto and wide-angle setting to either scan large areas for targets or to examine contacts that have already been discovered more closely.

The EOTS can thus be used as a classic FLIR system for air-to-ground operations. The mid-infrared range offers good sharpness of detail and is able to penetrate smoke and haze well. In addition, geodata can be determined for target points and illuminated with a target laser. On the other hand, the EOTS can also be operated in air-to-air mode as an IRST system in order to record and track air targets based on their infrared emissions (in particular the engine outlets and exhaust gases).

The image is optically stabilized against flight movements and vibrations at all times . Strong movements are balanced by several cardanic suspensions , smaller vibrations by a special highly movable mirror. Unlike many other current solutions, the EOTS is installed internally (instead of as an external FLIR container) and offers a large field of vision downwards (instead of upwards, as is typical for IRST). The internal installation reduces air resistance and, above all, enables a stealth construction, which consists of faceted and metallized sapphire glass panes and only minimally increases the radar cross-section. The selected field of view of around + 10 ° to -130 ° relative to the horizontal enables a very good view of ground targets, partly also behind the machine. However, air targets can only be detected if they are flying at the same or only slightly higher altitude, as they would otherwise be covered by the fuselage of the F-35. Such targets can also be discovered by the AAQ-37 DAS, but only at shorter distances. The connection to the avionics takes place via fiber channel lines.

Since the EOTS is based on the Sniper ATP, it is at the technological level of the early 2000s and is no longer considered cutting-edge. Lockheed Martin therefore wants to develop an “Advanced EOTS” as part of the Block 4 modernization. This should have an additional high-resolution video camera and an additional infrared sensor for the near infrared spectrum. Together with an increase in the resolution in the mid-infrared and enlarged optics, a higher reconnaissance range and better target imaging should be guaranteed. In addition, another laser is to be integrated for target illumination, which can also be seen on infrared night vision devices . In this way, the pilot can signal his own ground forces which target he would like to attack, which is intended to prevent misunderstandings when instructing the target, especially in densely built-up areas.

All-round surveillance: AN / AAQ-37 DAS

Recording of the DAS sensor (automatically composed of several images)

The AN / AAQ-37, also known as DAS (Distributed Aperture System), is an infrared-based sensor system. It consists of six separate IR cameras, which are arranged on the airframe so that the entire airspace can be monitored. It is primarily designed as a missile warning device, but also has other functions. Firing SAM and flak positions can be automatically recognized and immediately fought with weapons available on board (e.g. JDAM), while at the same time suitable countermeasures ( flares , chaff and EloGM ) are used in a targeted manner. Fighter aircraft approaching from any direction can also be detected and then attacked with fire-and-forget weapons (such as AIM-9X or AIM-120) without the F-35 having to move into the firing position through flight maneuvers. During a close air combat with a large number of participating own and enemy machines, the AAQ-37 identifies and tracks all aircraft, so that the pilot can always distinguish between friend and foe even with similar-looking machines.

During night missions, the system serves as a replacement for conventional night vision devices . In combination with the HMDS helmet, the pilot can access a night vision image of high quality in any direction, with the sharpness roughly corresponding to that of the human eye . This is a clear step forward compared to the usual night vision devices mounted on the helmet, as these can only cover a relatively small field of vision due to their design and the cockpit pulpit. Combined with the on-board computer, vehicles can also be safely tracked on the ground.

The AAQ-37 is being developed by Northrop Grumman and is currently being tested on several F-16 and QF-4 drones at Edwards Air Force Base . By February 2008, the system had been tested for 4,700 hours, with 83 hours for flight tests.

Communication: CNI

The CNI (Communication, Navigation & Identification) is a central computer system for navigation, communication and target identification. It is developed by Northrop Grumman and is similar to the F-22 avionics system. It is compatible with almost all military communication protocols (for example Link 16 , JTRS and UHF / VHF ). The following features are also integrated: GPS , TACAN , IFF , Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS). Also broadband communications using the AN / APG-81 radar is to be supported. The “Multifunction Advanced Data Link” (MADL) is preferred for communication within an F-35 group. This system consists of six phased array antenna groups , which are arranged in such a way that they cover the entire airspace. In contrast to conventional antennas, the MADL complex only emits signals in a very small sector (strong directivity ) with low side lobes . As a result, the data rate is greatly increased with the same transmission power and the probability of detection by hostile ELINT sensors is massively reduced. By February 2008, the CNI system had been tested for 4400 hours, with over 65 hours of flight testing. The EloKa systems were tested for 11,255 hours (over 70 hours of flight test).

Technical specifications

Data from the Lockheed Martin brochure from Aero India 2011 and F-35 JSF Statistics

Parameter F-35A CTOL data (conventional) Data of the F-35B STOVL (high flyer) F-35C CV (aircraft carrier) data
length 15.67 m 15.61 m 15.67 m
span 10.67 m 13.11 m
Wing area 42.70 m² 62.06 m²
Wing extension 2.67 2.77
Wing loading
  • minimum (empty weight): 308 kg / m²
  • nominal (normal take-off weight): 522 kg / m²
  • maximum (max. takeoff weight): 744 kg / m²
  • minimum (empty weight): 341 kg / m²
  • maximum (max. takeoff weight): 637 kg / m²
  • minimum (empty weight): 234 kg / m²
  • maximum (max. take-off weight): 512 kg / m²
height 4.57 m 4.72 m
Empty mass 13,170 kg 14,588 kg 14,547 kg
normal takeoff mass 22,280 kg k. A. k. A.
Max. Takeoff mass 31,751 kg 27,216 kg 31,751 kg
internal tank capacity 8,278 kg 6,124 kg 8,959 kg
Fuel mass fraction 0.385 0.295 0.381
maximum load factor (permanent) 4.6 g 4.5 g 5 g
Top speed officially Mach 1.6
Service ceiling 15,240 m
Use radius 1,080 km 833 km 1,111 km
Range 2,222 km 1,667 km 2,593 km
Gun load 8,165 kg 6,804 kg 8,165 kg
Engine a Pratt & Whitney -F135-100 turbofan
  • a Pratt & Whitney F135-600 turbofan
  • a Rolls-Royce lift system

a Pratt & Whitney F135-400 turbofan

  • with afterburner: 191.3 kN
  • without afterburner: 128.1 kN
  • with afterburner: 191.3 kN
  • without afterburner: 128.1 kN
  • STOVL thrust: approx. 80 kN
  • Control nozzles: approx. 12 kN
  • with afterburner: 191.3 kN
  • without afterburner: 128.1 kN
Thrust-to-weight ratio
  • maximum (empty weight): 1.48
  • nominal (normal takeoff mass): 0.88
  • minimum (max.start mass): 0.61
  • maximum (empty weight): 1.34
  • minimum (max.starting mass): 0.72
  • maximum (empty weight): 1.34
  • minimum (max.start mass): 0.61

Armament options

An F-35 should be able to be equipped with the following weapon systems, whereby a total load of 8,165 kg (6,805 kg external) must not be exceeded:

Guided bombs

Unguided bombs

Cluster bombs

Air-to-surface missiles

Air-to-air missiles

1 cannot be carried internally

2 cannot be carried internally by the F-35B

Armament layout

F-35 weapon layout.jpg

Note: Numbers 4, 5, 7 and 8 are internal weapon stations

Explanation of terms

  • Station : number of the weapon station
  • Store : possible types of armament
    • A / A : air-to-air missile
    • A / S : air-to-ground weapon
    • Gun 25 mm GAU-22 / A - Gatling gun in LO vessels (in the F-35A internally)
  • Capacity C : maximum payload of the corresponding weapon station (figures in pounds )

Criticism and problems


F-35A on approach for landing at Edwards AFB

Critics of the program mention the following points, among others:

  • The JSF suffers from incorrectly defined development goals.
  • He carries too little internal fuel and weapons and can therefore not be a substitute for ground attack aircraft.
    • F-35 only has four internal weapon positions that can only accommodate air-to-air missiles and bombs with a maximum of 2 × 900 kg.
    • In order to expand the attack potential, additional external loads would have to be attached to the wings, which would reduce the camouflage properties.
  • The inability to long supersonic flights ( supercruise ) make the F-35 less useful as an air defense platform.
    • The low top speed (Mach 1.6) also limits the range of applications considerably.
  • The project will suffer from long delays and exceed its budget.
    • The cost of an airplane is too high.

Despite these concerns, several countries have now expressed confidence in the JSF design and have become minority partners in the JSF manufacturing consortium.

The advocates of the program see the JSF as an opportunity to break out of the decade-old pattern of US aircraft procurement: Instead of traditionally developing three aircraft, one for each branch of service, the JSF is a joint project of the three US armed forces, the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. This allows the different JSF variants to be 80% identical, thus reducing aircraft and maintenance costs. The project partly follows the philosophy of the Europeans, whose Panavia Tornado was planned as a " multi-purpose fighter " from the start . The JSF is also the first US aircraft program to consider cost as an independent variable. In previous programs, aircraft cost was a dependent variable - additional skills always increased unit costs. Such design changes are not allowed during JSF development, which means that the budget remains limited.

Originally, the US Air Force wanted to achieve a production rate of 110 machines per year for the F-35A. This production rate is needed to replace the F-16s that have been decommissioned over time. However, a production rate of 48 machines per year from 2012 is only possible. This increases the unit price per machine significantly. Some analysts saw the $ 100 million per plane crossed. In April 2007, the US Department of Defense announced that the price of an F-35 would increase to $ 121.97 million. According to a March 2008 report by the Court of Auditors of Congress, the entire program is expected to cost the US armed forces nearly $ 1 trillion over the next few decades. Of this, the development and acquisition of 2,458 aircraft will account for 300 billion US dollars, and operation and maintenance over the next few decades will account for another 650 billion US dollars.

In April 2009, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal , data from the F-35 project was hacked. Large amounts of data were stolen from US Department of Defense computers. According to the Pentagon, however, no highly sensitive data was copied.

At the beginning of 2013, reports appeared in which the Pentagon and pilots massively criticized the F-35. In addition to criticism of several systems, the reliability and maintainability, the design of the F-35 was also criticized: The view from the cockpit, especially to the rear, is much worse than in other aircraft, which means that the pilot is in a dogfight don't see what's happening behind him. This circumstance massively limits the chances of survival of the F-35 in air combat as well as in ground attacks. The helmet display was also heavily criticized by the pilots, as the artificial horizon displayed did not match the real horizon and the display often flickered, blurred, blurred or completely defective.

The test department also criticized the F-35 in the 2012 annual report.

Technical problems

On May 3, 2007, an electrical short circuit occurred within the hydraulic control box of an F-35 AA-1, whereupon the pilot had to make an emergency landing. In August 2007 there was a broken blade in the low-pressure compressor on an F135 test bench engine. During the subsequent inspection of the AA-1's engine, cracks were found on the part in question. On December 7, 2007, the test flight program with the F-35 AA-1 was resumed. On February 4, 2008, during the engine acceptance run for the first F-35B, a blade fracture again occurred in the low-pressure compressor stage of the F135 engine. This delayed the first flight of the F-35B BF-1. On August 11, 2008 it was announced that the F-35 AA-1 had to interrupt test flight operations due to problems with the cooling air fans. The F-35 is said to be louder than an F-16, which causes problems for some export operators. Australia, for example, also requested noise measurements with the F-35. The nitrogen oxide emissions of the F135 engine are higher than any other comparable engine due to the higher combustion temperatures.

In August 2007 it became known that due to an error in the tender, the electric generator of the F-35C can only deliver 65% of the required power, which is the case with the F-35 with its electrically operated - and especially with the F-35C with its increased - Control surfaces restrict maneuverability. A more powerful generator will be available at the end of 2009. This error affects the standard engine installed in the F-35 A and F-35 C, which makes it necessary to reinforce the auxiliary unit transmission.

On November 17, 2010 Lockheed Martin published that stress tests on the floor test cell of the F-35B revealed fatigue fractures in the rearmost bulkhead . The design of these bulkheads was heavily modified in the F-35B to save weight; in contrast to the F-35A, F-35C and F-22, aluminum is used instead of titanium. In the case of already manufactured F-35B, no stress fractures could be found.

In August 2011, the F-35 fleet was temporarily banned from launching after an auxiliary power supply turbine failed on a test machine on the ground. On February 22, 2013, the Pentagon again imposed a flight ban on all 51 F-35s after a turbine blade showed a crack. Another grounding of the fleet took place on July 3, 2014. On July 15, 2014 the flight ban was lifted again. A defective insulation also led to an interruption of flight operations at the USAF in 2016, only A-version machines were affected, including the Norwegian machines stationed at Luke Air Force Base.

On June 12, 2017, a fleet of F-35A Luke Air Force Base was indefinitely decommissioned because of oxygen supply problems. The other F-35A continued operations as planned. Flight operations continued on June 20, 2017 without the fault having been found by then.

According to press reports from August 2018, 19 significant defects on the aircraft have been classified in a minor category in order to cover up problems.

The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT & E) , the internal auditing authority in the United States Department of Defense that monitors compliance with the contractually defined technical and safety-related requirements for weapon systems, repeatedly criticized the F-35 in its test reports.

Among other things, the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) was criticized, the autonomous logistics information system of the F-35. ALIS is owned by the manufacturing company Lockheed Martin. This is a computer system that continuously collects and analyzes aircraft data. This data is used for operational planning, threat analyzes, maintenance diagnoses and for ordering spare parts. All operators of the F-35, including those outside the USA, have to update their mission files and ALIS profiles before and after each flight. To do this, the data must be read out from each F-35 and sent to the ALIS main computer in Texas via an Internet connection. The DOT & E test reports criticize the inadequate cybersecurity of the ALIS software and hardware against cyber attacks . Furthermore, according to some F-35 operators, too much operational data from the F-35 is transmitted to the US Army and non-governmental companies.

Much of the capabilities of the F-35 are determined by its technical equipment and the built-in electronics (including 31 PowerPC processors from IBM with 75,000 MIPS ). The internal programming of the F-35 comprises over 8 million lines of software code (more than four times as much as the Lockheed Martin F-22 ). In the years 2016 and 2017, the DOT & E test reports identified 213 program errors , 88 of which were classified as serious.


Procurement started

United States

In February 2008, the US Air Force anticipated the following purchases and costs for the F-35 A program.

All figures in millions of US dollars .

position FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 Since 2014 total
Number of procurements 2 6th 8th 12 24 42 48 1,621 1,763
Base cost 478 1,289 1,674 2,084 2,930 4.151 4,337 129,302 146.244
Advance payments 94 123 137 232 358 366 469 11.202 12,980
Weapon system costs 572 1,412 1,811 2,316 3,288 4,517 4,805 140.504 159,224
1st installment of spare parts 76 37 86 122 227 355 373 11,240 12,515
Unit costs ("Flyaway") 247 215 199 159 125 102 91 80 83
Unit costs (complete weapon system) 286 235 226 193 137 108 100 87 90

By 2030, all 1,200 US Air Force F-16s should be replaced by F-35s. In 2025, the US Navy wanted to have its entire fleet of fighter aircraft converted to the F-35. The USAF calculated a total cost of $ 396 billion to procure a total of 2,456 aircraft beyond 2030.

The US Air Force's 33rd Fighter Wing (33rd FW) , based at Eglin Air Force Base , Florida , became the unit responsible for training F-35 pilots in the US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine Corps. For this purpose, on October 1, 2009 the previous subordination from Air Combat Command to Air Education and Training Command changed . There are three squadrons under the command of a US Air Force officer, each specifically responsible for training on a version of the F-35.

The USAF's 58th Fighter Squadron (58th FS) was scheduled to operate 24 F-35As. Twenty F-35Bs would equip Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501), which was established on April 2, 2010. Another 15 F-35C were sent to Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101), which was deployed on May 1, 2012.

United States Air Force including Air National Guard

As a second USAF base, the Force Development Evaluation and Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base , Nevada , received the first three of up to 36 F-35A in March 2013. The 56th Fighter Wing (56th FW) at Luke Air Force Base , Arizona received the first of 72 F-35A in March 2014. Stationed also in Luke, associates and Air Force Reserve belonging 944th Fighter Wing (944th FW) trains crews of export customers. In mid-January 2016, the size of the fleet there for training had grown to 34 machines.

The first USAF and Air National Guard (ANG) bases on the American continent were Hill Air Force Base ( Utah ) and Burlington Air Guard Station ( Vermont ) in 2019 and Jacksonville Air Guard Station ( Florida ), Mountain , later Home Air Force Base ( Idaho ) and Shaw Air Force Base / McEntire joint National Guard Base ( South Carolina ) are added. The USAF bases each house three, the ANG bases each one. The first squadron was the 34th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing in Hill, which received its first F-35A at the beginning of September 2015 and which achieved its preliminary “ Initial Operating Capability ” (IOC) in August 2016.

In the area of ​​overseas commands for the Europe / Africa area ( USAFE-AFAFRICA ), the British RAF Lakenheath base is to become the USAF's first European F-35 base from November 2021 and be equipped with two squadrons; later Aviano could join Italy. For the Pacific Command Area ( PACAF ), Eielson Air Force Base has been home to the first F-35A since April 2020 .

United States Marine Corps

At the USMC, the F-35B will replace the AV-8B Harrier and the F / A-18C / D Hornet will be replaced by a mix of F-35B and F-35C. The corresponding locations are Beaufort and Cherry Point in the east ( VMA and VMFA squadrons of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing) and Yuma and the former Top Gun home Miramar in the west (3rd Marine Aircraft Wing).

The first to convert the VMFA-121 in Yuma to the F-35B since November 2012 and achieved its initial operational capability (IOC) in July 2015. The F-35B's first overseas base was Iwakuni in Japan, where the The first VMFA-121 machines from Yuma arrived at the beginning of 2017. The inflow of the 353 F-35B for use on land and by the amphibious assault ships of the Navy was delayed due to technical problems. On September 27, 2018, F-35Bs of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit ( MEU ) from the USS Essex (LHD-2) attacked Afghanistan for the first time .

The Marines will also receive 67 copies of the F-35C version. These are intended for use on aircraft carriers together with the machines of the Navy. The start of the introduction of this variant was also delayed, from 2016 to 2020. The first operational squadron VMFA-314 in Miramar received its first F-35C in January of that year.

United States Navy

The first training squadron, VF-101, was officially put into service in Eglin on October 2, 2013 with two F-35Cs (see above) and in November 2014 the first tests of the F-35C on aircraft carriers took place. Training takes place at Naval Air Station Lemoore , where in January 2017 the first F-35C arrived with a three-year delay for another training squadron ( Fleet Replacement Squadron ), the VFA-125. In addition to the training squadron, seven squadrons of the Pacific Fleet are to be stationed here, the first of which, the VFA-147, was converted to the F-35C in 2018. The F-35C reached its initial operational readiness in February 2019. The first mission is planned for 2021 by the Vinson .


As a replacement for the F / A-18A / B Hornet, Australia is planning to purchase 100 F-35A, some of which will also take over the range of tasks for the already decommissioned F-111C Pig . After delays in the F-35, Australia bought F / A-18E / F Super Hornet as an interim solution, which sparked controversy there about the sense of the F-35 involvement. Nevertheless, Australia ordered the first 14 machines in November 2009, which should be put into service in 2017 [obsolete] . Due to the procurement of two Canberra-class amphibious assault ships , Australia is also considered a long-term candidate for the F-35B. On April 23, 2014, Australia ordered another 58 aircraft for $ AUS 12.4 billion (US $ 11.5 billion), equivalent to US $ 198.27 million per aircraft. Deliveries will start in 2018 [obsolete] . The total number of F-35s ordered for Australia now stands at 72 aircraft. In addition, a decision should be made in 2015 to order some F-35B as well.

The RAAF's first two F-35A arrived in December 2014 at their preliminary training base Luke , where training took place until the end of 2019.

In Australia, the first copies arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown at the local jet retraining unit, the 2nd Operational Conversion Unit , at the end of 2018 . The first squadron will be the 3rd Squadron .


As a Level 3 partner, Denmark initially planned to purchase 24 to 30 aircraft to replace the F-16 and has already invested US $ 200 million in the F-35. In the meantime, however, an official tender for 30 machines has been launched, in which the F-35A competes with the US F / A-18F Super Hornet and the European Eurofighter Typhoon . On May 12, 2016, the Danish government announced that it would buy 27 F-35A Lightning IIs for the equivalent of 2.7 billion euros. The first fighter aircraft is due to be delivered in 2020. In 2024 the F-16 should be completely replaced. Boeing challenged the decision in September 2016 and asked the Department of Defense to inspect the files.


F-35I "Adir" of the Israeli Air Force in December 2016

On August 15, 2010, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave his approval for the purchase of 19 F-35I “Adir” based on the F-35A. The investment, including maintenance contracts and spare parts, amounts to $ 4 billion. Another 14 F-35I were ordered in 2014 and the remaining 17 of a total of 50 planned “Adir” for two squadrons of 24 jets plus reserve were ordered at the end of 2016. All aircraft are to be delivered by the end of 2024.

Israel has a special position in the F-35 project. As the only operator outside the USA, it is allowed to equip the F-35 with its own avionics and software and also to take over maintenance. This guideline of Israeli defense policy, which is best known from the F-16I "Sufa" , is intended to ensure Israeli dominance in the air should the United States decide to supply Arab states with the same model. The first flight of the F-35I took place on July 25, 2016.

On Monday, December 12, 2016, Israel became the first state outside of the United States to be home to F-35s. On that day, the first F-35I arrived at their new home base in Nevatim in the Negev , and after twelve months, Israel announced the initial operational readiness of the first squadron with nine aircraft received so far. In May 2018, the IAF commander, Major General Amikam Norkin , announced that Israel had flown the world's first sharp operations with jets of this type, likely against Iranian positions in Syria .

There are currently two F-35I squadrons in Nevatim, the 116th and 140th squadrons


Originally, the Italian Ministry of Defense planned in April 2009 with procurement costs of 12.09 billion US dollars for 131 machines. The order included 22 F-35Bs for the Navy and a further 40 F-35Bs and 69 F-35As for the Air Force. The unit price per machine (A and B variants charged) should be 92.3 million US dollars, with a further 4.5 billion US dollars for logistics and support. The F-35 are intended to replace the Tornado and AMX fighter-bombers , although initially only the F-35A version was intended for the Air Force. The Navy needed the F-35B to replace the carrier-based AV-8B Harrier II .

As a result of the debt crisis, Italy reduced its order from 131 to 90 F-35s in early 2012. On October 7, 2008, Italy announced that it would withdraw from the evaluation and test program and not purchase any test machines of the F-35. The first series machine, an F-35A, produced on Alenia Aermacchi's final assembly line , took off from the Cameri military airfield for the first time on September 8, 2015 . and was handed over to the Air Force on December 3, 2015. The first F-35A arrived in Amendola (Air Force / AM ) at the end of 2016 . Ghedi is planned as another F-35A base .

The first F-35B assembled in Italy completed its maiden flight in October 2017 and was delivered in January 2018. Two squadrons with a total of 30 F-35B are planned, one for the Air Force and the only one for the Navy / MM . Whether the two squadrons will be stationed together in Amendola or the navy squadron will remain in Grottaglie is open.


In April 2011 the Japanese Air Force announced the FX competition, in which a successor for their 70 F-4EJ Kai Phantom II should be found. The deadline for submitting bids was November 2011, and the Japanese Ministry of Defense then selected the F-35A Lightning II on December 20 . The 42 machines are to be added to the fleet in the Block 3 version from 2016. The contract worth eight billion US dollars originally stipulated that the first four machines would be delivered in the Japanese fiscal year 2012 (which starts on April 1); the first machine was finally rolled out on September 23, 2016. The first four machines will roll off the assembly line at Lockheed in Forth Worth, with the remaining 38 machines to be manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan. The training of the mechanics began at the beginning of 2016, that of the pilots began in November 2016. The third squadron in Misawa began to move in at the end of January 2018. The first squadron , the 302nd, was set up in Misawa in March 2019.

In December 2018, the Japanese cabinet decided to increase the planned F-35 fleet size from 42 to 147 aircraft. The 105 machines are divided into 65 F-35A and 40 F-35B. The additional F-35A machines are intended to replace around 100 older F-15Js that can no longer be upgraded or upgraded, whereas the F-35Bs are to be used on the Izumo-class helicopter carriers, which will turn them into aircraft carriers. With the re-order, Japan becomes the second largest F-35 user.


In November 2013, South Korea announced its decision to purchase 40 copies of the F-35A as part of its FX III, which are to be delivered from 2018. The first two copies of the South Korean Air Force arrived at Cheongju Air Base , home of the 17th Squadron, in late March 2019 .


The Netherlands initially planned to purchase a total of 85 F-35A to replace the F-16AM. The Netherlands also participated as a Level 2 partner in the development of the F-35 and initially financed two test samples. When the financing plan for the F-35 program was presented to the Dutch parliament (5.5 billion euros in acquisition costs and 9.1 billion euros in operating costs over 30 years), it sparked heated controversy. As a result, Parliament decided on May 20, 2010 that the risks of the F-35 program were too great and therefore decided to call on the government to end its involvement. This would mean that the test machine acquired in 2009 would probably be written off and a second planned sample would no longer be financed. Ultimately, on April 21, 2011, the F-35 program was chosen and the purchase of a second test machine was approved.

After another "hanging game" in 2013, the procurement of initially only 37 copies was confirmed in September of that year. In 2019, nine more copies were ordered. A total of three squadrons can be equipped with this.

The 323rd Squadron has served as the test unit since November 2014, initially stationed in the USA , while the 322nd Squadron will be the first squadron . The first landing of a Dutch F-35 in the Netherlands took place on May 23, 2016, the two aircraft involved were transferred across the Atlantic for test purposes and will be transferred back to the States in mid-June, where the test campaign will continue. On October 31, 2019, the first emergency aircraft (F-009) was received in a festive ceremony. The airport fire department accidentally sprayed the aircraft with aggressive fire-fighting foam instead of water, which may have damaged the stealth coating and the engine.


Norway wants to operate a fleet of 52 machines by 2024. It initially ordered 46 machines and acquired an option for six more; this option was redeemed in October 2013. These six are scheduled for delivery in 2018. In 2008, 48 copies were priced at a total of 2.5 billion US dollars and 52 million US dollars per machine. This price was an essential factor in the decision-making process of the armed forces in favor of the F-35 and against the Saab "Gripen NG" .

Lockheed Martin handed over the first F-35 to the Norwegian Armed Forces for flight training in Luke on September 22, 2015. The transfer of the first operational copies to the Norwegian main operational base Ørland took place on November 3rd, 2017. Of the 52 machines, 28 should be operational by 2020 and the remaining 24 of the Luftforsvaret should be available by 2024, 22 of which have already been approved by the Norwegian Parliament .

Norway plans to work with Great Britain on maintenance and training of technical staff and pilots. A letter of intent was signed by both countries in early September 2013.

The machines are stationed at their main base Ørland . There is also an advanced base in the north of the country with Evenes and another operational base in the south of the country with Rygge .

United Kingdom

Great Britain plans to replace its previous Harrier fleet with 138 F-35B Lightning II (British project name: Joint Combat Aircraft ). These are to be operated jointly by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force , whereby they would have been used by the RN on the two carriers of the Queen Elizabeth class , while the RAF would have used them as a vertical take-off supplement to Eurofighters and tornadoes.

As part of the British government's austerity package, this plan was temporarily corrected with the Stragic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) 2010 . Instead, a considerably smaller number of the conventionally starting C-variant of the F-35 should be procured, which is both cheaper and more powerful (43% larger fuel capacity) due to the elimination of the complex vertical take-off system. Since one of the two carriers was to be used without aircraft and later (if possible) sold and the RAF would also have had to make cuts, the number of aircraft to be procured should be considerably lower. Only 12 aircraft per carrier (of the original 36) and 50 aircraft in total were to be procured (Lockheed Martin, on the other hand, reckons with 135 aircraft); however, the exact number of units will not be determined until the next Defense Review in 2015. In addition, the commissioning of the F-35C was to be delayed until 2020 (F-35B originally 2012, then 2017). The operation should be transferred to the RAF alone.

The first F-35B (BK-1) destined for Great Britain was rolled out on November 22, 2011 in Fort Worth. This is one of two machines that were paid for before the earlier order change to the F-35C. The first flight took place in the spring of 2012. The third British copy was to be an F-35C with the CK-1.

In May 2012, however, the decision to use the F-35C was revised. The reason is that the estimated cost of redesigning the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers tripled to an estimated two billion pounds per ship. In the end, therefore, four F-35B pre-series machines BK-1 to BK-4 were manufactured and the reduction in the number of operational aircraft was also revised with the SDSR 2015.

The 17th (R) Squadron at Edwards AFB and the first squadron , the No. 617 Squadron (RAF), initially acted as "Designate Squadron" until April 2018, and from 2016 to 2018 as a retraining unit at MCAS Beaufort. They were relocated to RAF Marham in mid-2018. After they achieved their first limited operational readiness, the first of the F-35Bs used for training in the USA up to this point in time moved to England in mid-2019 and the 207th (R) Squadron was reactivated as a retraining unit The second squadron will be the 809th Naval Air Squadron (RN) from April 2023 .

Procurement planned

BelgiumBelgium Belgium
On October 25, 2018, Belgium became the last of the four original F-16 users in north-western Europe to announce that it would purchase 34 F-35s to replace their F-16AM / BM.
SingaporeSingapore Singapore
Like Israel, Singapore is planning to acquire the F-35A as part of the so-called "Security Cooperative Participants" (SCP) and wants to use it to supplement its F-15SG fleet. Although Singapore does not bear any direct development costs, the SCP agreement allows it to acquire the F-35 and benefit from the technological development for the aircraft it has previously used. It is not yet known how many machines Singapore will ultimately acquire. Initially, only four specimens are to be evaluated.
PolandPoland Poland
Poland plans to purchase 32 F-35A Unit 4 to replace its aging MiG-29 and Su-22 . The US government gave the green light for this in September 2019, and the corresponding contract was signed on January 31, 2020. The purchase price is said to be $ 6.5 billion. Poland had already acquired 48 Lockheed Martin F-16C / D jets for its air force.

Procurement considered

CanadaCanada Canada
Canada initially planned to order 65 Canadian-made CF-35A's for the Canadian Forces Air Command , which should arrive in 2016. Bagotville in Québec and Cold Lake in Alberta were intended as operational bases , with both squadrons, the 3rd and 4th Wing , each to receive at least 24 operational samples. On December 6, 2012, Canada announced that it was pulling out of the F-35 project. Partly because of a delay in the project, partly because of the rising costs for Canadian taxpayers, which are currently expected to exceed $ 30 billion. A selection of a new combat aircraft has not yet taken place.
GermanyGermany Germany
According to media reports first published in May 2017, the Federal Republic of Germany is also considering the procurement of F-35 aircraft for the Air Force . These are from the manufacturer more, z. Some secret information about sensors, information management and combat capabilities of the F-35 has been requested.
The then Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said, according to the Handelsblatt, that the Eurofighter was “a pre” for her. The F-35 is therefore unlikely to be the successor to the Tornado.
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
The Swiss Air Force plans to bring about 20 to 70 new combat aircraft into service between 2025 and 2030. For this purpose, four different models were tested in the course of 2019 (Saab withdrew from the evaluation), including the F-35A. The type decision is expected in 2021.

Procurement of Turkey canceled

The Turkish Air Force relied on fighter jets from the United States and wanted to replace their F-4 phantom fighter jets with F-35A. Turkey has been a partner in the JSF program since 1999 and could source up to 136 F-35s from Lockheed Martin. The Turkish Air Force planned 120 F-35A and 16 F-35B for the Turkish Navy , which should then be used on the TCG Anadolu in 2021 . The machines should originally be delivered from 2015.

The first two machines were officially handed over to Turkey in June 2018. However, they will remain in the USA at Luke Air Force Base until at least 2020, where Turkish personnel have been trained on them.

On August 14, 2018, US President Trump blocked the delivery of the ordered F-35 to Turkey. The reason given was the planned procurement of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system by Turkey, which the US sees as the “eye of Moscow” in NATO territory to obtain data on the F-35.

On July 17, 2019, the US government announced that the delivery of the ordered F-35 to Turkey had been canceled. No statement was made about the parts deliveries from Turkey.


  • Lockheed Martin F-35: Top fighter in the endurance test. (Cover story) In: Flug Revue No. 6/2018, pp. 50–54
  • European debut of the F-35. In: FliegerRevue No. 9/2016, pp. 24–27
  • Bert Chapman: Global Defense Procurement and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2019, ISBN 978-3-030-01366-0 .

Web links

Commons : Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Media reception

In Die Hard 4.0 , an F-35B destroys the truck where John McClane is chasing the terrorists and then crashes.

In Green Lantern , Hal Jordan and his colleague fly two F-35s on a test flight against drones. The Hal finally crashes through a stall , and crashed to the floor after Hal was able to escape with the ejection seat.

In the first-person shooter Battlefield 2 , the F-35B can be flown on selected maps.

In the first-person shooter Battlefield 3 , the Back to Karkand - DLC makes it possible to fly F-35B aircraft on selected maps.

In the first-person shooter Battlefield 4 , the F-35B is the standard jet of the US armed forces.

Numerous press releases and videos (often with derisive comments) are circulating in the media around the world depicting speeches by US President Trump, in which he often claimed that the F-35 was literally invisible and impossible to see.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ First operational F-35 squadron declared ready for combat. In: flightglobal.com. July 31, 2015, accessed November 11, 2017 .
  2. [1]
  3. Stephen Trimble: Israel sets sights on two-seater F-35 Flightglobal , January 22, 2010.
  4. John Hayles: Yakovlev Yak-41 'Freestyle'. In: aeroflight.co.uk. March 28, 2005, accessed May 24, 2018 .
  5. Template: dead link /! ... nourl  ( page no longer available ) Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Jane’s . Retrieved: July 3, 2008.
  6. ^ Experts explained the similarity of the American F-35 with the Soviet Yak-141. (No longer available online.) In: archyworldys.com. April 28, 2018, archived from the original on May 25, 2018 ; accessed on May 24, 2018 (English).
  7. Lockheed / Yakovlev discuss ASTOVL. In: flightglobal.com. June 21, 1995, accessed May 22, 2018 .
  8. Florian Ion Petrescu, Relly Victoria Petrescu: Lockheed Martin. P. 85 Google Books
  9. Spiegel.online: New US fighter jet causes trouble. March 15, 2006
  10. Financial Times May 26, 2006: Bush gives way over stealth fighter.
  11. DoD Acquisition Starting To Turn Corner? F-35 Costs Down 2%. March 19, 2015, accessed November 11, 2017 .
  12. Craig Hoyle: Can Lockheed deliver on the Joint Strike Fighter dream? In: flightglobal.com. December 14, 2010, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  13. Sebastian Sprenger: The Netherlands to buy nine more F-35s for $ 1.1 billion. In: DefenseNews. October 8, 2019, accessed January 5, 2020 .
  14. a b Türkiye F-35 alımını erteledi. In: haber.sol.org.tr. November 7, 2014, accessed February 22, 2015 (Turkish).
  15. Wolfgang Greber: Canada cancels F-35: super fighter jet in turbulence. In: diepresse.com. December 14, 2012, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  16. Israel to Acquire 17 More F-35s. November 27, 2016
  17. Singapore Signs Letter of Intent for Joint Strike Fighter Program.
  18. Financial Times Deutschland online: Compulsory break for US fighter pilots. ( Memento from December 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  19. www.lockheedmartin.com: Lockheed Martin F-35 marks 20th flight (English) ( Memento from January 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  20. FlugRevue March 2009, p. 47: F-35 is making progress.
  21. FliegerWeb - Another milestone in the F-35 Lightning II program.
  22. a b Another milestone in the F-35 program. Retrieved June 9, 2015 .
  23. www.lockheedmartin.com: Lockheed Martin F-35B STOVL Stealth Fighter Achieves Successful First Flight (English) ( Memento from July 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  24. www.lockheedmartin.com: F-35B Begins In-Flight STOVL Operations (English) ( Memento from January 17, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  25. Lockheed Martin F-35 . In: Flug-Revue . June 2010, ISSN  0015-4547 , p. 32-37 .
  26. Stephen Trimble: PICTURES & VIDEO: F-35B starts critical tests in comeback attempt. In: flightglobal.com. October 5, 2011, accessed January 27, 2012 .
  27. Stephen Trimble: Lockheed rolls out F-35C as US Navy interest grows. In: flightglobal.com. July 30, 2009, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  28. a b Stephen Trimble: First flight for F-35C keeps Lockheed on track. In: flightglobal.com. June 8, 2010, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  29. Article at Flugrevue.de
  30. Beth Stevenson: USMC F-35B lands on USS Wasp for operational testing. In: Flightglobal.com. May 21, 2015, accessed on May 22, 2015 (English): "Six US Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II aircraft landed on board the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship on May 18, where they will begin the first phase of shipboard operational testing for the force's Joint Strike Fighters. "
  31. James Drew: F-35 designed for long-range kills, not dogfighting. In: Flightglobal.com. July 1, 2015, accessed on January 29, 2016 (English): "The test pilot, who has experience flying the F-15E, F-16 and F / A-18F, says the F-35A's maneuverability is" substantially inferior to the F-15E "because of its smaller wings, similar weight and reduced afterburner thrust. "Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement."
  32. FlugRevue June 2010, pp. 32–37, Lockheed Martin F-35: Fly more prototypes
  33. FliegerRevue March 2011, pp. 26–30, F-35 takes the next hurdles
  34. F-35B BF-05 prototype lifted off. Retrieved June 9, 2015 .
  35. Second F-35C lifted off. Retrieved June 9, 2015 .
  36. F-35C Completes First Arrested Landing aboard Aircraft Carrier. November 3, 2014, accessed May 4, 2017 .
  37. Stephen Trimble: Lockheed reaffirms F-35 production target despite supplier statement. In: Flightglobal.com. October 10, 2015, accessed on October 8, 2015 (English): "Lockheed Martin has re-affirmed the full-rate production goal for the F-35 program remains 17 aircraft per month, despite a supplier's statement on October 7 that it is significantly less. "
  38. AF declares the F-35A 'combat ready'. Retrieved August 3, 2016 .
  39. ^ The first F-35 operational strike. In: iaf.org. Israeli Air Force, May 22, 2018, accessed May 22, 2018 .
  40. FAZ.net: F-35 aircraft in combat operations for the first time worldwide.
  41. www.iaf.org.il May 22, 2018: "The first F-35 operational strike".
  42. https://www.flugrevue.de/militaerluftfahrt/kampfflugzeuge-helikopter/f-35b-fliegt-ersten-kampf Einsatz/ 760440
  43. ^ Gerhard Hegmann: Stealth jets: New US super fighter jet F-35 crashed for the first time. In: welt.de. September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2018 .
  44. Wreckage of crashed Japanese F-35 fighter jet found. BBC April 10, 2019
  45. Gerhard Hegmann: Stealth technology: Fighter jet crash makes the Pentagon nervous . April 26, 2019 ( welt.de [accessed April 26, 2019]).
  46. US Navy makes F-35C carrier qualification push. Flightglobal, August 17, 2016, accessed April 11, 2017 .
  47. a b c d Need a lift? Rolls-Royce, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  48. ^ JSF Flight training - affected environment and environmental consequences. (PDF; 5 MB) In: eglin.af.mil. The Official Web Site of Eglin Air Force Base, p. 13 , archived from the original on July 22, 2011 ; accessed on March 1, 2016 (English).
  49. Stephen Trimble: PARIS AIR SHOW: F136 revs up thrust setting. In: flightglobal.com. June 16, 2009, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  50. ^ Stephen Trimble: Pratt & Whitney faces new pressure on F135 costs. In: flightglobal.com. July 1, 2009, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  51. Stephen Trimble: US Senate axes F-35 alternate engine. In: flightglobal.com. July 23, 2009, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  52. a b Craig Hoyle: New vote backs competitive engine strategy for F-35. In: flightglobal.com. July 31, 2009, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  53. Stephen Trimble: Obama threatens vetoes on F-22, F136 decisions. In: flightglobal.com. June 25, 2009, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  54. FliegerWeb - Senate dumps F136 engine out of budget , news from September 14, 2009
  55. FlugRevue June 2011, p. 16, Aus for the F136 engine.
  56. Guy Norris: GE, Rolls Give Up on F136 JSF Alternate Engine. In: aviationweek.com. Aviation Week Network, December 2, 2011, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  57. Rolls-Royce Lift System. (PDF; 616 kB) Delivering game-changing vertical lift technology. Rolls-Royce, archived from the original on December 28, 2013 ; accessed on March 1, 2016 (English).
  58. Shaft Driven Lift Fan (SDLF) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Office website. Accessed February 6, 2010
  59. ^ Rheinmetall to supply ammunition for the F-35 stealth multirole fighter. March 6, 2017, accessed March 8, 2017
  60. Jon Hemmerdinger: F-35B strikes tank with guided bomb in test. In Flightglobal.com. October 30, 2013, accessed November 1, 2013: A Lockheed Martin F-35B has completed its first guided weapons delivery test, striking a tank with a GBU-12 Paveway II weapon, according to Lockheed Martin. The test happened October 29 at the Edwards Air Force Base Precision Impact Range Area in California, Lockheed says in a media release.
  61. Jon Hemmerdinger: F-35B launches air-to-air missile in test. In: Flightglobal.com. October 31, 2013, accessed November 1, 2013: Lockheed Martin's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has conducted its first live-fire test of an air-to-air missile, the company reports. An aircraft piloted by Air Force Capt. Logan Lamping launched an AIM-120 advance medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) against an aerial drone while flying in a military test range off the California coast, says Lockheed in a media release.
  62. 'A God's Eye View Of The Battlefield:' Gen. Hostage On The F-35 , accessed January 8, 2017
  63. a b c d e f g Ian Moir, Allan Seabridge: Military Avionics Systems . John Wiley & Sons, 2006, ISBN 0-470-01632-9 .
  64. ^ Green Hills Software - Customers. Accessed January 8, 2017
  65. ^ Fiber Optic Communication within the F-35 Mission Systems. Accessed January 8, 2017
  66. IEEE 1394b Playing Pivotal Role in F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter , accessed January 8, 2017
  67. a b c d e f g h i j F-35 Lightning II: An Air Warfare Revolution - Air International Special. Key Publishing, 2014, pp. 21, 24-30
  68. Visual count
  69. APG-81 Radar Validated during Northern Edge 2009. Accessed March 5, 2017
  70. ^ Northrop Grumman Awarded DOD Honor for Electronic Protection Achievements. Accessed March 5, 2017
  71. ^ Aviation Week - China's Stealth Aircraft Program Will Face Advanced Defenses. Accessed January 8, 2017
  72. a b c BAE Systems - AN / ASQ-239 Electronic warfare / countermeasure system ( Memento from January 22, 2017 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 8, 2017
  73. a b c Armada International 06/2013, Key Publishing, pp. 12-14
  74. ^ Stealth Vs. Electronic attack. April 21, 2014. Accessed January 22, 2017
  75. 'A God's Eye View Of The Battlefield:' Gen. Hostage On The F-35. June 6, 2014. Accessed January 21, 2017
  76. Beyond F-35: Rep. Forbes & Adm. Greenert on Cyber, Drones & Carriers. April 29 , 2013. Accessed January 21, 2017
  77. a b c d e f g Lockheed Martin: F-35 Mission Systems Design, Development, and Verification. In: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. June 25, 2018, accessed May 26, 2019 .
  78. a b c d e Lockheed Martin: F-35 Lightning II Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). In: Lockheed Martin. Retrieved May 26, 2019 .
  79. James Drew: Lockheed reveals Advanced EOTS targeting sensor for F-35 Block 4. In: FlightGlobal. September 10, 2015, accessed May 26, 2019 .
  80. a b c d e Northrop Grumman: F-35 DAS. In: youtube.com. May 13, 2010, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  81. ^ Harris - Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) ( Memento June 26, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), accessed June 25, 2009
  82. ^ Henry S. Kenyon: Programmable System Guides Jet to New Heights. In: SIGNAL Magazine. AFCEA, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  83. F-35 Lightning II Defining the Future (PDF, English) ( Memento from January 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  84. www.jsf.mil: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Media Kit Statistics (English, ZIP; 100 kB)
  85. a b c Dave Majumdar: Reduced F-35 performance specifications may have significant operational impact. In: Flightglobal. January 30, 2013, accessed October 21, 2014 .
  86. ^ Pentagon agrees to F-35A combat radius reduction. Flightglobal, March 8, 2012, accessed March 8, 2012 .
  87. F135 Specs Charts. (PDF; 45 kB) In: pw.utc.com. Pratt & Whitney, September 2012, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  88. photos.state.gov: F-35 Program Brief (Norway, PDF, English; 10.5 MB)
  89. www.afa.org: Let those geezers go; Up front on C-17s; F-15 options… (English) ( Memento from October 11, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  90. www.airpower.at: USAF & JSF: 30 ° nose-low and 90 ° bank - all we see is ground ... (English)
  91. www.defense-aerospace.com: US Developing Separate JSF for Foreign Partners (English)
  92. F-35 Lightning: New US fighter jet costs huge sums. In: Spiegel Online . Retrieved March 1, 2016 .
  93. Hackers crack Pentagon weapons project. In: tagesschau.de . April 21, 2009, archived from the original on March 28, 2010 ; accessed on March 1, 2016 .
  94. spiegel.de: F-35 fighter aircraft: Pentagon outraged by stealth jet
  95. FY2012 Annual Report for the Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation , Memo of February 15, 2013 ( Memento of November 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  96. ^ Graham Warwick: Blade failure will delay STOVL F-35B JSF first flight. In: flightglobal.com. February 8, 2008, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  97. www.aviationweek.com: JSF Delays Pile Up , Bill Sweetman, August 11, 2008 (English)
  98. Component Failures Impact F-35 Flight Testing. In: aviationweek.com. Aviation Week Network, August 11, 2008, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  99. Fliegerrevue October 2008, pp. 26–30, JSF - doomed to success
  100. www.defenseindustrydaily.com: F-35 JSF Hit by Serious Design Problems (English)
  101. ^ F-35 Joint 'Massive Cost Overrun' Fighter. Retrieved June 9, 2015 .
  102. Financial Times Deutschland of August 5, 2011: Flight ban for America's super fighter jets ( Memento of August 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  103. Reuters of February 22, 2013: Pentagon suspends F-35 flights due to engine blade crack
  104. US grounds entire F-35 fighter jet fleet after unexplained fire. The Guardian , July 4, 2014.
  105. F-35 is allowed to fly again. In: Flugrevue. July 15, 2014, accessed July 22, 2014 .
  106. Leigh Giangreco: Norwegian F-35 returns to flight Following faulty insulation issue. In: Flightglobal.com. November 3, 2016, accessed November 7, 2016 .
  107. Dozens of F-35 fighter jets have to remain on the ground in the USA. In: diepresse.com. June 13, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017 .
  108. Gerhard Hegmann: F-35: Flight stop for the US fighter jet due to the pilot's shortness of breath. In: welt.de. June 12, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017 .
  109. Perry Vandell: F-35 flight suspension at Luke AFB ends; cause of hypoxia not found. In: eu.azcentral.com. June 21, 2017, accessed June 24, 2018 .
  110. ^ Travis J. Tritten: The Pentagon is downplaying serious problems with the F-35, watchdog says. Washington Examiner, August 29, 2018.
  111. a b c d e Roger Näbig: F-35: High-tech fighter jet or US $ 1.5 trillion disaster? In: Officers.ch. Officers.ch, September 16, 2018, accessed on September 17, 2018 .
  112. United States Air Force - Committee Staff Procurement Backup Book - FY 2009 Budget Estimates. ( Memento of October 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 2.1 MB, English), February 2008, page 43.
  113. Christopher Drew: Pentagon Orders F-35 Jets Grounded . In: New York Times, February 22, 2013, accessed October 28, 2013: "The Pentagon estimates that it could spend as much as $ 396 billion to buy 2,456 of the jets by the late 2030s."
  114. M. Ayton & D. Majumdar: Nomadic Lightnings. In: AIR International, September 2011, pp. 50–59.
  115. Japan receives first F-35 , Flightglobal, November 30, 2016
  116. James Drew: F-35 training at Luke AFB gathers pace with 34 jets. In: Flightglobal.com. January 13, 2016, accessed January 15, 2016 .
  117. ^ US Air National Guard gets first Lockheed Martin F-35s , Flightglobal, September 20, 2019
  118. USAF says F-35A combat-ready, Janes, August 3, 2016 ( Memento of August 3, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  119. UK parliament questions US threat to cancel F-35 deployments , Janes, May 6, 2020
  120. How the US Air Force is assembling its northernmost F-35 squadron amid a pandemic , Defense News, May 12, 2020
  121. ^ First operational F-35 squadron declared ready for combat. Flightglobal, July 31, 2015
  122. First F-35B Fighter Jets Arrive in Japan. Defense News, Jan. 18, 2017
  123. https://www.flugrevue.de/militaerluftfahrt/kampfflugzeuge-helikopter/f-35b-fliegt-ersten-kampf Einsatz/ 760440
  124. First USMC operational unit receives F-35C. Defense News, Jan. 24, 2020
  125. ^ Zach Rosenberg: US Navy activates first F-35C squadron. In: Flightglobal.com. October 2, 2013, accessed on October 2, 2013 (English): "The squadron, VF-101, has been formed using two F-35s, and more will be delivered. Four additional F-35Cs are at NAS Patuxent River for aircraft testing. "
  126. Craig Hoyle: F-35 on track to meet IOC targets, official says. In: Flightglobal.com. November 14, 2013, accessed on November 15, 2013: "[...] the Joint Program Office representative said flight testing involving a new tailhook design for the carrier variant F-35C should be completed at the US Navy's Lakehurst site in New Jersey" next month ”. The type should begin its first carrier-based trials "late next summer", he adds, on the way to a first active duty deployment in the fourth quarter of 2018. "
  127. ^ First Lightnings for NAS Lemoore. airheadsfly.com, January 26, 2017
  128. ^ The US Navy's new stealth fighter just hit a major milestone. Defense News, February 28, 2019
  129. ^ Felix Seidler: Australia as the new Indo-Pacific order power. In: MarineForum, 09/2012, p. 14.
  130. Defense News: Australia Purchases 58 More F-35s. April 23, 2014
  131. ^ Julian Kerr: Australia could buy F-35B. In: IHS Jane's Defense Weekly. July 17, 2013, archived from the original on May 5, 2015 ; accessed on March 1, 2016 (English).
  132. USMC receives first F-35C. In: flightglobal.com. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  133. ^ RAAF transfers F-35 training to Australia. In: janes.com. Accessed January 21, 2020 (English)
  134. First F-35As arrive in Australia. Janes, December 9, 2018
  135. Nordschleswiger: Now it's official: F-35 will be Denmark's new fighter jet. May 11, 2016, archived from the original on May 11, 2016 ; accessed on May 11, 2016 .
  136. Stephen Trimble: Boeing protests Denmark's F-35A decision. In: Flightglobal.com. September 15, 2016, accessed on September 16, 2016 .
  137. Israel adds 17 F-35s to its order, Janes, November 29, 2016 ( memento of November 29, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  138. Israel orders more F-35I Adir
  139. Arie Egozi: Israel stands firm on demand for domestic JSF content. In: flightglobal.com. March 6, 2009, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  140. ^ First flight for Israel's F-35A Adir. Janes, July 28, 2016
  141. http://www.israelheute.com/Nachrichten/Artikel/tabid/179/nid/31154/Default.aspx#.WE_ixzoHQ5s.facebook
  142. ^ Gareth Jennings: Israel declares F-35 to be operational. (No longer available online.) In: Janes.com. December 6, 2017, archived from the original on December 7, 2017 ; accessed on October 2, 2019 .
  143. Israel flew the F-35I Adir in real use
  144. 'Lions of the South': Israel's newest F-35 fighter squadron takes off, World Israel News, January 20, 2020
  145. Aviation Week & Space Technology April 13, 2009, Vol. 170 Issue 15, p. 30
  146. ^ Difesa: Di Paola, F35 acquisiti scenderanno da 131 a 90. Corriere, February 15, 2012, accessed on February 16, 2012 (Italian).
  147. www.defense-aerospace.com: Italy Pulls Out of JSF's Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (English)
  148. ^ F-35 Soars Over Italy, First Time Outside the US. Defense News, Sept. 8, 2015
  149. Italy Takes Delivery of First F-35, Defense News, December 3, 2015 ( Memento of December 5, 2015 in the web archive archive.today )
  150. ^ First F-35s now based in Europe. airheadsfly.com, December 16, 2016
  151. Ghedi: Arrivano i nuovi 'caccia' da combattimento: super-restyling da 91 milioni di euro. bresciatoday.it, December 17, 2019
  152. Leonardo plans to deliver the first F-35B assembled in Italy. Janes, January 25, 2018
  153. Amy Butler: Lightning II Strikes in Tokyo. In: aviationweek.com. Aviation Week Network, December 19, 2011, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  154. Combat Aircraft Monthly, February 2012, p. 6 f.
  155. Leigh Giangreco: Japan rolls out first F-35A. In: Flightglobal.com. September 23, 2016, accessed September 23, 2016 .
  156. Japan base welcomes 1st deployed F-35A, but industry hiccups delay fighter's supplies. Defense News, Jan. 30, 2018
  157. Japan stands-up first operational F-35A unit. Janes, March 29, 2019
  158. a b Greg Waldron: Tokyo set to become second biggest F-35 operator. In: Flightglobal.com. December 18, 2018, accessed December 18, 2018 .
  159. First two F-35As arrive in South Korea. Janes, April 2, 2019
  160. FliegerWeb: F-35: Holland gets out. Message dated May 21, 2010, accessed May 21, 2010
  161. ^ The Netherlands to buy second test Joint Strike Fighter jet. DutchNews.nl, accessed March 1, 2016 (English).
  162. Nicola Clark: Dutch Pick F-35 Jets to Expand Aging Fleet. In: New York Times. September 17, 2013, accessed on October 2, 2013 (English): "The Dutch defense ministry said on Tuesday that it had selected the F-35 fighter jet from Lockheed Martin to replace its aging fleet of F-16s, bringing an end to years of uncertainty over the Netherlands' commitment to a program that has been plagued by technical delays and mounting development costs. [...] the purchase of 37 F-35s - far fewer than the 85 planes initially envisioned before [...]. "
  163. LIVE: Two Dutch F-35s arriving at Leeuwarden Air Base. In: Flightglobal.com. May 23, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016 .
  164. Tom Demerly: OOOPS! First Dutch F-35A Accidentally Gets Foam Party Instead of Water Salute. theaviationist.com, November 1, 2019, accessed November 2, 2019 .
  165. Nick Enoch: F-35A stealth jet is accidentally covered in foam on arrival in Netherlands. www.dailymail.co.uk, November 1, 2019, accessed November 2, 2019 .
  166. Joseph Trevithick: Whoops! First F-35A Based In The Netherlands Got A Foam Bath By Mistake. www.thedrive.com, October 31, 2019, accessed November 2, 2019 .
  167. a b Beth Stevenson: Norway reconfirms plans to acquire 52 F-35s. In: Flightglobal.com. October 5, 2015, accessed on October 9, 2015 (English): "Of the 52 required, 28 will be operational by 2020 and the other 34 by 2024 - the first F-35A for Norway, which will be based in the USA for training, which was unveiled on September 23rd. "
  168. ^ Dave Majumdar: Norway to purchase six additional F-35's. In: Flightglobal.com. October 16, 2013, accessed on October 16, 2013 (English): "Norway is seeking to purchase six additional Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for its air force in the country's fiscal year 2014 defense budget request."
  169. ^ Bill Sweetman: Gripen's Norwegian Blues. In: aviationweek.com. Aviation Week (English).
  170. ^ F35 Day for Norway. In: airheadsfly.com. AirheadsFly, September 22, 2015, accessed September 22, 2015 .
  171. http://www.regjeringen.no/ : Norway's first F-35 rolled out - official press release from the Norwegian government.
  172. Beth Stevenson: Norway proposes F-35 funding increase for 2016. In: Flightglobal.com. October 13, 2015, accessed October 13, 2015 .
  173. ^ Anthony Osborne: Norway And UK To Collaborate On F-35 Operations. In: aviationweek.com. Aviationweek, September 6, 2013, archived from the original on October 5, 2013 ; accessed on October 2, 2013 (English): "Ministers from the two countries signed an agreement on the initiative in London on Sept. 5 with the aim of exploring closer partnerships in maintenance and sustainment as well as the training of pilots and technical personnel. "
  174. ^ Norwegian F-35 fleet 'ready for operations'. UK Defense Journal, November 18, 2019
  175. Craig Hoyle: Can Lockheed deliver on the Joint Strike Fighter dream? In: flightglobal.com. December 14, 2010, accessed March 1, 2016 .
  176. Combat Aircraft Monthly, February 2012, p. 8 f.
  177. Official: UK To Switch Back to STOVL F-35. In: Defense News , May 10, 2012, same day accessed
  178. UK receives final F-35 test aircraft, Janes, April 12, 2016 ( Memento from May 31, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  179. Gareth Jennings: 'Dambusters' named as UK's first F-35 squadron. In: IHS Jane's Defense Weekly. July 17, 2013, archived from the original on January 30, 2014 ; accessed on September 16, 2013 (English).
  180. UK's second F-35B squadron arrives at Marham home, Janes, July 17, 2019. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on July 17, 2019 ; accessed on October 2, 2019 .
  181. Nicholas de Larrinaga: UK Royal Navy F-35s to be flown by Immortal pilots. In: IHS Jane's Defense Weekly. September 9, 2013, archived from the original on January 31, 2014 ; accessed on September 16, 2013 (English).
  182. ^ Greg Waldron: F-35A wins Belgian fighter competition. FlightGlobal.com, October 26, 2018, accessed October 26, 2018 .
  183. Singapore details F-35 plans. Air & Cosmos, March 6, 2019
  184. Poland buys 32 American F-35 fighter jets
  185. Poland cleared to buy F-35 fleet , defensenews.com, September 11, 2019
  186. ^ Defense Industry Daily: Canada Preparing to Replace its CF-18 Hornets
  187. Michael Den Tandt: Federal government cancels F-35 fighter purchase: source. In: canada.com. Postmedia Network Inc, December 6, 2012, accessed June 7, 2016 .
  188. Information about F35 requested: Bundeswehr is considering buying US stealth jets. In: t-online.de. Retrieved May 17, 2017 .
  189. Germany requests classified data from US military on F-35 fighter jet. In: Defense News. Retrieved May 20, 2017 (English).
  190. International Aviation Exhibition: Minister von der Leyen prefers the Eurofighter as the Tornado successor . ( handelsblatt.com [accessed August 11, 2018]).
  191. Michael Surber, Anja Lemcke: These four fighter jets are still vying for the order of the Swiss Army. In: NZZ. June 13, 2019, accessed January 5, 2020 .
  192. Volker K. Thomalla : Lockheed Martin has handed over the first F-35A to Turkey. In: aerobuzz.de. June 23, 2018, accessed June 24, 2018 .
  193. spiegel.de: Trump blocks delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Erdogan.
  194. spiegel.de: NATO fears Moscow's eye.
  195. The day: USA finally throw Turkey out of F-35 program - n-tv.de. www.n-tv.de, July 17, 2019, accessed on July 17, 2019 .
  196. US removes Turkey from F-35 fighter jet programs. In: BBC News. www.bbc.com, July 17, 2019, accessed on July 17, 2019 (English).