The F-35 Lightning
II is one of the most ambitious and most expensive aircraft platforms that has
ever entered development by the U.S. military. To help offset some of the costs
to develop and build the F-35, the U.S. entered into agreements with partner
nations that would allow the nations to buy the aircraft and share some of the
costs of the program.
There have been some significant issues with the program that have put the F-35
behind schedule in some instances and run costs up. However, Lockheed Martin
has announced that the aircraft has hit a milestone this month with the first
flight of a production F-35 taking place on February 25. The production
aircraft is an F-35A, which is the conventional take off and landing version of
“The aircraft was rock-solid from takeoff to landing, and successfully
completed all the tests we put it through during the flight,” said Lockheed
Martin Test Pilot Bill Gigliotti. “The Air Force is getting a great jet that
represents a huge leap in capability, and we’re looking forward to getting it
into the hands of the service pilots in just a few more weeks.”
Test pilot Bill Gigliotti’s test flight lasted about an hour (the aircraft took
off from the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 3:05pm and
landed at 4:05pm). Lockheed Martin notes that the jet will continue testing in
Fort Worth for another month before the Air Force accepts the aircraft.
The most trouble prone of the F-35 variants is the F-35B STOVL aircraft. In
January of 2011, the F-35B
completed five vertical landings bringing the aircraft closer to its
goal of being delivered to the Marine Corps this year. The carrier version of
the F-35, dubbed the F-35C, is should be delivered to the Navy starting in
quote: that debated the decision.
quote: Considering the single engine F35 produces more thrust than pretty much any dual engine aircraft in production, I really don't see the issue.
quote: There's no substitute for real eyeballs on the sky.
quote: Considering the single engine F35 produces more thrust than pretty much any dual engine aircraft in production, I really don't see the issue. Lower costs, lower maintenance, and makes it far better suited for multi use purposes. If safety is a concern, well then the F16 (single engine) still has a slightly better track record than the F18 (dual engine) according to the US Government.
quote: It really comes down to this: would you rather have 3 upgraded F-16's, or a single JSF?