The F-16 Fighting Falcon, which was covered in a Maroon January article, has been a primary fighter aircraft for the United States Air Force for over 20 years. However, on February 19, 2006, Lockheed-Martin rolled out a new, advanced, fifth-gen fighter: the F-35A Lightning II. Named after Lockheed’s P-38 Lightning of World War II, the F-35 was first introduced on February 19, 2006. As the Air Force describes, the F-35 will provide “next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability” for the United States and its allies. 

The F-35, a fifth-generation fighter, has many distinct advantages. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney F-135-PW-100 turbofan engine, the F-35 has up to 43,000 pounds of thrust. Its range, based on 18,498 pounds of internal fuel, is more than 1,350 miles. It has been tested to reach a speed of Mach 1.6 and a ceiling of over 50,000 feet (approximately 9.5 miles). The F-35 is redefining the future of air combat and stealth operations. 

Source Information: