first published on January 4, 2016 by Will
After years of setbacks, Lockheed Martin is finally working the kinks out of the F-35 Lightning II, Joint Strike Fighter, multirole combat aircraft, and deliveries are being made on schedule.
To date, 154 operational F-35s have been delivered to the U.S. military and foreign allied nations. This year, the Air Force received 26 F-35As, the Marines received eight F-35Bs, and the Marines and U.S. Navy received four F-35Cs each. Lockheed Martin was able to deliver nine more jets than last year, demonstrating improvements in the production program.
The differences between the variants are considerable. The Air Force’s F-35A is a conventional takeoff and landing aircraft and is the only variant that carries an internal cannon. The Marine’s F-35B is capable of short take-off and vertical-landing operations. The F-35C is designed specifically for carrier use and is capable of catapult assisted take-off, arrested recovery operations and will be the Navy’s first ever stealth piloted-aircraft. The variant holds more fuel and has longer wings than the other Joint Strike Fighter models, making it capable of long range strike missions. The longer wings are able to fold to minimize space usage on an aircraft carrier.
The F-35 will replace the F-16 and the A-10, and the following video shows all three variants in action.