Air Force

April 1, 2016
 

F-35 takes its place in history

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Written by: adriennek
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The Lightning II qualified March 6 at the Heritage Flight Conference at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, to take part in the Air Combat Command Air Force Heritage Flight program. The program features modern U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korean and Vietnam-era aircraft in a dynamic display of our nation’s airpower history. The F-35 Heritage Flight Team includes one pilot and 10 maintainers, all selected from the 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base. To meet the team members, see Page 21.

Mission 

The F-35 is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter. It will replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II’s, which have been the primary fighter aircraft for more than 20 years, and bring with it an enhanced capability to survive in the advanced threat environment in which it was designed to operate. With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35 will provide next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations.

Features 

The conventional takeoff and landing F-35 gives the U.S. Air Force and allies the power to dominate the skies – anytime, anywhere. The F-35 is an agile, versatile, high-performance, 9g capable multirole fighter that combines stealth, sensor fusion and unprecedented situational awareness.

The F-35’s advanced sensor package is designed to gather, fuse and distribute more information than any fighter in history, giving operators a decisive advantage over all adversaries. Its processing power, open architecture, sophisticated sensors, information fusion and flexible communication links make the F-35 an indispensable tool in future homeland defense, Joint and Coalition irregular warfare and major combat operations.

Because logistics support accounts for two-thirds of an aircraft’s life cycle cost, the F-35 is designed to achieve unprecedented levels of reliability and maintainability, combined with a highly responsive support and training system linked with the latest in information technology. The Autonomic Logistics Information System integrates current performance, operational parameters, current configuration, scheduled upgrades and maintenance, component history, predictive diagnostics (prognostics) and health management, operations scheduling, training, mission planning and service support for the F-35. Essentially, ALIS performs behind-the-scenes monitoring, maintenance and prognostics to support the aircraft and ensure continued health and enhance operational planning and execution.

The F-35’s helmet mounted display system is the most advanced system of its kind. All the intelligence and targeting information an F-35 pilot needs to complete the mission is displayed on the helmet’s visor.

The F-35 contains state-of-the-art tactical data links that provide the secure sharing of data among its flight members as well as other airborne, surface and ground-based platforms required to perform assigned missions.

The F-35 is designed to provide the pilot with unsurpassed situational awareness, positive target identification and precision strike in all weather conditions.

 

General characteristics 

Primary function: Multirole fighter

Prime contractor: Lockheed Martin

Power plant: One Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 turbofan engine

Thrust: 43,000 pounds

Wingspan: 35 feet

Length: 51 feet

Height: 14 feet

Maximum takeoff weight: 70,000 pound class

Speed: Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph)

Range: More than 1,350 miles with internal fuel (1,200+ nautical miles), unlimited with aerial refueling

Ceiling: Above 50,000 feet

Armament: Internal and external capability. Munitions carried vary based on mission requirements.

Crew: One




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