Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

[Photo] F-35 Integrated Test Force’s JSF in Formation with RAF Typhoons

A mixed F-35 Lightning II Eurofighter Typhoon formation could be more frequent in the future.

This image was taken on Apr. 4, 2014, near Edwards Air Force Base, California. It shows, an F-35 of the type’s Integrated Test Force flying in formation with two Eurofighter Typhoon jets of the Royal Air Force during an interoperability test.

A mixed formation of this kind, with the U.S. and Europe’s most advanced warplanes, is still quite rare, but it should be more frequent, at least in the UK and Italy, considered that both the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force are not only already flying the Typhoon, but have also plans to fly the F-35.

Actually, the future of the F-35 is a bit uncertain, at least in Italy: even if nothing has been decided yet, it’s hard to believe the current plan to buy 90 F-35 (from the initial 131 jets) to replace the aging fleet of Tornado IDS, AMX (Italian Air Force) and AV-8B+ (Italian Navy) will survive further cuts.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

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[Photo] All three F-35 variants fly together for the first time

F-35A, F-35B and F-35C Joint Strike Fighters flying together.

A nice photo lets you compare the shape and size of the three variants of the F-35 Lightining II multi-role aircraft flying together for the first time.

From right to left, F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off Landing), F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing), F-35C Carrier Variant, and F-35A CTOL.

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

 

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[Photo] Two Lightnings fly together: F-35A and P-38 over Luke Air Force Base

On Mar. 14, 2014, Luke Air Force Base hosted a ceremony for the arrival of the first F-35 (Tail Number LF 5030), the 5th generation stealth fighter that will equip the 56th Fighter Wing.

“The F-35 Lightning II represents the future of tactical aviation for the United States and our allies.” With these words, U.S. Air Force Gen. Robin Rand, Commander, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas accepted the first of 144 F-35As to be delivered to the 56th FW.

Rand remarked that the arrival of the first Luke’s F-35 is a milestone for the Joint Strike Fighter Program and for the base itself because “this program is built on a foundation of unprecedented international partnership that is embodied at the integrated training center at Luke AFB. Together, we will train the next generation of pilots who will protect freedom at home and abroad.”

Built and developed to replace a wide variety of aircraft such as the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps plus other several types of fourth generation aircraft in numerous air forces worldwide, “the F-35 Lightning II will provide the USAF and international partners a decisive edge over its adversaries” said Lockheed Martin F-35 program general manager Lorraine Martin.

To celebrate this achievement, following the F-35 delivery ceremony, an example of World War II P-38 Lightning fighter took the skies over Luke Air Force base alongside with an F-35 Lightning II performing a typical heritage flyby to celebrate Lockheed legacy between these namesake machines.

Name aside, considering that the Lightning II is still affected by several problems, the question is: will the F-35 able to replicate the success of its predecessor?

Image credit: Lockheed Martin

 

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[Photo] First F-35B short take-off and vertical landing sortie by British pilot at Eglin

First STOVL sortie at Eglin for a RAF pilot

On Feb. 25, Royal Air Force pilot, Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols, flew in a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II during the first short take-off and vertical landing sortie by a United Kingdom pilot at Eglin Air Force Base, in Florida, where British pilots and ground crews are undertaking training alongside their Marines counterparts.

The USMC began flying STOVL sorties at Eglin in October last year.

Beginning in 2018, the F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) should operate from Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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Poland about to buy 64 fifth generation fighter jets. But F-35s seem to be unaffordable

Poland about to buy fifth generation fighter jets. Which ones is still unclear.

During a conference held on Feb. 6, 2014, Ministry of National Defence announced Poland will buy 64 fifth generation jets.

The new aircraft will be delivered between 2022 and 2030. In the meanwhile the Su-22 Fitters, initially set to be retired by 2015, will be modernized and kept flyable until the new planes arrive.

The sum allocated to the procurement of the future aircraft is around 2.8B Polish Zloty (930M USD).

Considered the strong ties with Lockheed Martin (the Polish Air Force already operates the F-16 Block 52+), the first candidate for the role of Warsaw’s future aircraft is the F-35. But since F-35A has a pricetag around 100 USD million apiece, the purchase of the Joint Strike Fighter is quite unlikely.

The Lightning II is very expensive, and would seriously hamper the rest of the Polish Armed Forces modernization plan, which includes new helicopters, submarines, new air defenses and anti-missile shield.

Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

 

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