Plane of the Week #3: Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

This week’s plane of the week is the Lockheed-Martin F-35.

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The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter  program. It is being designed and built by a team led by Lockheed Martin. Other F-35 partners include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006. The United States plans to buy 2,457 aircraft. One variant of it can take off vertically, while another takes off like a normal plane, but far shorter.

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The F-35A is armed with a GAU-22/A, a four-barrel version of the 25 mm GAU-12 Equalizer cannon, which I assume are related to the GAU-8 Avenger used on the A-10. The cannon is mounted internally with 182 rounds for the F-35A or in an external pod with 220 rounds for the F-35B and F-35C; the gun pod has stealth features.The F-35 has two internal weapons bays, and external hardpoints for mounting up to four underwing pylons and two near wingtip pylons. http://forces.tv/91059643

And, if you’ve heard anything about it losing a mock dogfight to an F-16, that was because the F-35 in question was an early flight-test version without all the correct software. The media likes to overplay things like that.

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Next week: A blast from the past from across the pond…

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Plane of the Week #3: Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

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