Touch screen, voice activated commands, portal. A new smartphone or tablet? No, the Lockheed Martin F-35's glass cockpit.

Look at the following image.

Included in the “F-35 from the Cockpit” webminar held on Jan. 18, the screenshot gives an idea of the Joint Strike Fighter glass cockpit featuring full touch screen, HOTAS, voice activated commands, system monitoring with all information displayed on a “portal” that make the most advanced (and expensive) 5th generation aircraft ever built, “amazingly easy to fly” as F-35 Test Pilot Bill Gigliotti said during the webminar.

As I witnessed some years ago in the F-35 Cockpit Demonstrator, the combat flight simulator-like symbology, combined with a Helmet Mounted Display with the 360° view of the battlespace, that correlates images coming from a set of cameras mounted on the jet’s outer surfaces, giving the pilot the ability to see in all directions, through any surface, as if it was equipped with x-ray vision, gives the pilot the opportunity to fulfil every kind of mission with the so-called Total Situational Awareness.

During the webminar, that featured also by F-35 Chief Test Pilot Alan (Al) Norman as speaker, Lockheed affirmed they are sure the F-35C will be able to land on a carrier since they are waiting the new testing campaign to validate it.

On a question about the dogfighting capabilities of the F-35 in relation to a Sukhoi Su-37: “they are years behind us.”

In the meanwhile LM has released on Flickr the first night flying pictures of the F-35.

Above images: courtesy Lockheed Martin

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I wonder how much command validation is built it. For instance, to the left in the above image is the fuel display with the area marked ‘DUMP’. After touching that, does a window pop-up that asks “Are you sure you want to dump fuel?” Desktop computers normally have an expert user mode allowing expert users to turn off confirmation messages. Is there an equivalent in the F-35? I wouldn’t think any military would not want to admit there was any PIC that wasn’t considered an expert.

    You reported elsewhere voice commands will be accepted. Perhaps the system will be smart enough to ascertain command validity based on speech analysis. If the pilot says, “Dump the fuel” the system might ask for a confirmation while if the pilot screams “DUMP THE F***ING FUEL NOW!” it might decide a confirmation is not necessary.

    User interfaces are always a challenge to do properly. Designers attempt to make them easy to use as well as idiot proof. But they cannot make them stupid proof. Although a pilot might have a million dollars of training behind him (or her), we know some will be stupider than others.

  2. Sorry, just my ignorance talking. But wasn’t JP4 “phased out” since more then 15 years ago?

    “The desire for a less flammable, less hazardous fuel led the U.S. Air Force to phase out JP-4 in favor of JP-8; the transition was completed by the fall of 1996” (Wikipedia)

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