F-35 Lightning II

An F-35A Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing streaks across the sky above Eglin Air Force Base, Fl. while coming in for landing after a training sortie. The 33rd Fighter Wing is responsible for F-35 A/B/C Lightning II pilot and maintainer training for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and, in the future, at least eight coalition partners. Initially, 59 aircraft and three flying squadrons, one for each service/aircraft variant, will be established at Eglin. (credit: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

An F-35A Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing streaks across the sky above Eglin Air Force Base, Fl. while coming in for landing after a training sortie. The 33rd Fighter Wing is responsible for F-35 A/B/C Lightning II pilot and maintainer training for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and, in the future, at least eight coalition partners. Initially, 59 aircraft and three flying squadrons, one for each service/aircraft variant, will be established at Eglin. (credit: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

January 18, 2019 | Source: DoD Live, airman.dodlive.mil, J.M. Eddins Jr. , 10 December 2018

The F-35A Lightning II is a fifth-generation fighter combining advanced aerodynamics, survivability in high-threat environments and an enhanced ability to provide pilots and allied assets across operational domains with robust situational awareness.


The F-35 is the result of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program to develop a single-engine, stealthy, multi-role fighter to replace an aging fleet of mission-dedicated airframes: the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II for the Air Force and the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II for the Navy and Marine Corps.

Although separate airframe variants were designed to meet specific needs of the various military services, all F-35 variants are primarily designed to infiltrate contested airspace, accurately deliver guided and conventional munitions, and collect, process and disseminate real-time reconnaissance while maintaining robust air-to-air combat capability at speeds above Mach 1.

Military and budgetary benefits of international cooperation are well represented in the F-35 program. Partner nations including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway and Australia, are highly involved in the aircraft’s ongoing development. The F-35 has also been sold to Israel, Japan and South Korea.

Use of a common weapons system among allies promotes an operational familiarity during coalition partner training and combat, while reducing the cost, time, training, manning and research and development of integrating dissimilar airframes of those allied nations.

The Royal Australian Air Force, has committed to obtaining 72 F-35A aircraft to form three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, and a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown. The RAAF is expected to take delivery of its first operational F-35As in December 2018.

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