Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
To Be Reviewed By The Pentagon
Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2008
Edited by Andy Ross
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II will come under scrutiny as Defense
Department officials consider whether to proceed with an aircraft that could
cost as much as $1 trillion to develop in coming decades.
Pentagon's senior weapons buyers are scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider
plans to purchase 2,458 of the F-35 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and
The Government Accountability Office said earlier this
month that buying all the planes will cost $300 billion based on government
data from December 2006. Another $650 billion will be needed to maintain and
operate them. The GAO says the planes will average $122 million each in
Lockheed is waiting for an early-stage production
contract for 12 planes, for delivery starting in 2010. A Pentagon cost
update is expected next month. The GAO said that its own projections could
rise with the new data.
Lockheed Martin Press Release
Edited by Andy Ross
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a supersonic multi-role stealth
fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed
together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will
replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the
Lightning II the most economical fighter program in history. The program is
on schedule to deliver aircraft to the U.S. military services beginning in
2010. The first test aircraft has completed 35 flights and has exceeded
performance expectations. The inaugural flight of the first short
takeoff/vertical landing F-35B is on schedule for mid-2008.
achieves its Very Low Observable stealth performance through its fundamental
design, its external shape and its manufacturing processes. Special coatings
are added to further reduce radar signature. The package is designed to
remain stealthy in the harsh carrier-deck environment and in severe combat
conditions, and tests have validated that capability.
A total of
2,581 F-35s are planned for the U.S. and U.K. services, with more than 600
additional aircraft expected to be integrated into the air forces of seven
other partnering nations. Built in three variants, the F-35 will replace
AV-8Bs and F/A-18s for the U.S. Marine Corps; A-10s and F-16s for the U.S.
Air Force; F/A-18s for the U.S. Navy; Sea Harriers, GR7s and GR9s for the
U.K. Royal Air Force and Royal Navy; and other aircraft currently used by
F-35 participant countries.
The F-35A is a conventional takeoff and
landing variant designed for use with conventional runways. The F-35B is a
short takeoff/vertical landing version that can operate from small carriers,
austere bases and deploy near front-line combat zones. The F-35C is designed
to withstand catapult launches and arrested recoveries aboard the Navy’s
large carriers. All F-35s are stealthy and supersonic, and incorporate the
most powerful and comprehensive avionics suite ever flown on a fighter
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with principal
partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two interchangeable F-35 engines
are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce
Fighter Engine Team F136.
Lockheed Martin Corporation is
headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, employs about 140,000 people worldwide
and reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.
|F-35C artists's impression
||F-35 with F-18 chase plane