Sunday, December 9, 2012

F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

Carrier based variant of the F-35C in flight with the US Navy

F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter quoted as the largest global defense programmed in history. It was a major multinational program to developed and produce affordable stealthy multirole fighter aircraft. F-35 JSF developed in 3 variants, F-35A conventional version developed for US Air Force & others participant countries, F-35B Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) for US Marines & British Royal Navy & F-35C conventional carrier launched version for US Navy.

Origin named of Lightning II was after the P-38 Lightning (Lockheed Martin) & English Electric Lightning Jet. It was developed & produce by Lockheed Martin Aeronautic Corporation as Lead Integrator& manufacturer (surveillance & targeting System, weapon interfaces) BAE System (UK) for aft fuselage lead, Electronic Warfare System & HMSS (Helmet Mounted Symbiosis System), Northop Grumman for APG-81 AESA radar, DAS 360 degree sensors, communication, navigation & identification avionics & software.

United Technologies Pratt & Whitney involved in designed & developing F135-PW-100 turbofan engine (F-35A & F-35C) & F135-PW-600 turbofan engine with LiftFan & rotating nozzle (F-35B). Others company involved in developing F-35 including Martin Baker (ejection seat), Rolls Royce (F-35B LiftFan), Stork Fokker (wiring system), VSI (Rockwell & Elbit) (Helmet-Mounted Display System) & General Dynamics (25mm Gatling gun & cockpit display).

It's development partners participation divided into 4 Tier. For Tier 1, involved in design and development, US & UK participated. For Tier 2, involved in significant investment of F-35 program, Italy & Netherlands fill this tier. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway & Turkey can catogery in Tier 3 , for ordering commitment of F-35.

Singapore & Israel participate in Security Cooperation Partners. Israel commits to order 20 F-35i with option for another 75 planes in future. Singapore still did'nt commits any F-35 order in near future.

Japan become the first export customer for F-35A with 42 F-35A's order.

It's stealth designed as an affordable stealth multirole for air-to-air and air-to-ground mission. F-35 larger single engine without supercruise and supermaneuverability and less stealthier compare to F-22 Raptor. It was designed for 'low-observable' stealth when viewed from the front and less stealth to radar looking from sides & rear aircraft.

F-35 Lightning II powered by Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 (FF-35A &F-35C) & F135-PW-600 version with LiftFan and a nozzle that can rotate to point down for vertical landing. It's maximum speed can reach Mach 1.6.

F-35 was equipped with sensors that can act as high-end reconnaissance aircraft. Advanced APG-81 AESA radar is smaller and less powerful compare to APG-77v1 for F-22 Raptor.
APG-81 AESA radar can simultaneously detect & target for air-to-air and air-to-ground, ease maintenance & high-bandwidth communication benefits.
It's sensor fusion designed with several of sensors types embedded around the airframe which able the F-35 to perform top-level reconnaissance.
F-35 was superior in infra-red and ground looking sensors. It's also has a potential as electronic warfare aircraft. All sensors are connected computers for single-picture view & the pilot able to see everything in one screen. F-35 doesn't have HUD display which was replace with JHMDS helmet (VSI) or HMSS (BAE System). All-aspect DAS (Distributed Aperture Sensors) allow or 360 degree targeting of the aircraft around F-35 which can combine with inertial guidance and datalink features of modern missiles like AIM-9X ASRAAM and AIM-120C AMRAAM.

ALIS information & diagnostic system was fitted for auto diagnostic and record.

F-35 Lightning II standard internal weapons ((inside weapon bays) is 2 x AIM 120C AMRAAM & 2 x JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition).
For external fix weapons, AIM-9L/M/X sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, GBU-39 SDB (GPS guided), GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided, Paveway IV laser/GPS/GPS guided & AGM-154A/C JSOW GPS/IIR guided glide bombs.
For future, MBDA Meteor long-range air-to-air missile & MBDA SPEAR medium range strike missile plan for installation on British F-35. Kongsberg JSM (Joint Strike Missile) for Norway F-35 & Python-5 SRAAM for F-35i for Israel.



F-35A is Conventional Take-Off Landing (CTOL) version for US Air Forces & others country. F-35A is the most number of F-35 orders / export. It was less expensive due to largest production program. Estimated cost for F-35A is US $108.3 million. It was designed for 9G capability maneuverability limits with Air-to-Air capability similar toF-16 fighter jet.
It's improved stealth to reduce detection ranges with internal weapon bays & electronic superiority. It was fitted with 25mm Gatling gun / cannon. For air-air refueling, it fitted with Dorsal Refueling Receptable for refueling using aerial tanker boom.

F-35B STOVL (Short Take-off Vertical Landing)

F-35B is the most expensive F-35 Lightning II fighter variant. It's estimated cost around US $138 million. This version is for US Marines and UK Royal Navy.
It can take-off in short distances & vertically landing (due to large LiftFan and nozzle rotate down) on ships.
It use retractable mid-air refueling probe for air-air refueling.


F-35C designed was 30% larger wing area compare to others F-35 with larger tails & continuous wingtip ailerons. It provides the precise low-speed handling for carrier approach and reinforced structure to strengthen the aircraft for ship landing.
It was fitted with retractable refueling probe for mid-air refueling. It's estimated cost is US $125 million each.


Length        : 51 m
Height        : 14 m
Wingspan   : 35 ft (F-35A/F-35B) & 43 ft (F-35C)
Engine        : F135-PW-100 (F-35A & F-35C) & F135-PW-600 with LiftFan (F-35B)
Thrust         : 25,000 lbs (F-35A & C) & 26,000 lbs (F-35B)
Max speed  : Mach 1.6 at altitude
Max Gs      : 9g (F-35A) / 7.5g (F-35C) / 7g (F-35B)
Max weight : 70,000 lbs (F-35A & F-35C) / 60,000 lbs (F-35B)
Range (IF)  :  1200 nm (F-35A & C) /900nm (F-35B)
Max payload : 18,000 lbs

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