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F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a fighter plane currently in early development by Lockheed Martin. The primary customers are the United States armed forces and the United Kingdom (RN and RAF), but the Netherlands, Australia, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Canada, Italy and Israel are also participating in the program.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Table of contents
1 History
3 Variants
4 Characteristics
5 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links


The Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program was created in 1993 as a result of a DoD Bottom-Up-Review. The major tactical aviation results of the review were to continue the ongoing F-22 and F/A-18E/F programs, cancel the Multi-Role Fighter (MRF) and the A/F-X programs, curtail F-16 and F/A-18C/D procurement and initiate the JAST Program.

The JAST program office was established on January 27, 1994. It was established to define and develop aircraft, weapon, and sensor technology that would support the future development of tactical aircraft. The final goal was a common family of aircraft to replace several aging US and UK aircraft of which the JSF is one such example.

The JSF is a multi-role attack and fighter aircraft designed to replace the ageing F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-111 Raven, Sea Harrier and Harrier GR7 jets. It will complement the USAF's high-end F/A-22 Raptor air superiority fighter and the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Design goals for the JSF include:

The planes are being constructed in three different variants to suit the needs of various users -- a conventional take-off and landing aircraft (CTOL) for the US Air Force; a carrier based variant (CV) for the US Navy; and a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft for the US Marine Corps and the Royal Navy.

So far, as of late 2002, the program has stayed surprisingly close to its target cost of $28m for the cheapest Air Force variant. If the JSF eventually meets its cost targets, it will be the first U.S. military aircraft since World War II to do so.

The construction contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin (after Boeing's X-32 lost the bid) in October 2001, and the planes are expected to enter service in 2008.


Critics of the program maintain that the JSF suffers from ill-defined design goals; that it has insufficient internal fuel and weapon capacity to make a capable replacement for dedicated bombing aircraft; that its inability to supercruise limits it as an air defence platform, and that it is almost certain to suffer lengthy development delays and cost over-runs -- meaning that interim types will have to be purchased to fill the gap between the end of useful life of existing fleets and the introduction of the JSF. Several nations, however, already have sufficient confidence in the design to have committed substantial sums to become minority partners in the JSF manufacturing team.

The program's advocates see the JSF as an opportunity to break out of the decades-old pattern of U.S. military aircraft procurement: instead of a traditional per-service design approach, the JSF is being developed jointly by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. This allows an estimated 80% commonality between the JSF variants for the different services, lowering aircraft and service costs. This follows to a degree the philosophy behind the SEPECAT Jaguar and Panavia Tornado international development programs, the latter being called a multi-role combat aircraft (or MRCA) prior to service entry. Additionally, JSF is the first U.S. aircraft program to consider cost as independent variable (CAIV). In earlier programs, the aircraft cost has been a dependent variable -- additional features have always increased the aircraft cost. Such design changes aren't being allowed during the JSF development.



See also

Further reading

External links