F-35 Lightning II - Joint Strike Fighter

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Product Type:
5th Generation Multi-Role
Fighter Aircraft

Using Service (US):
Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps

Program Status:
In Production (LRIP phase)

Prime Contractor:
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Pratt & Whitney (United Technologies)

The F-35 Lightning II JSF

About the F-35 Lightning II:

By Forecast International /// The following is a snapshot of the F-35 Lightning II (JSF) program. For complete data and a forecast outlook, please view our Military Aircraft Forecast


The Lockheed Martin F–35 Lightning II aka Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a fifth generation single-seat, single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft developed for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, and allied nations. The F-35 is developed from the X-35, the winning prototype aircraft in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program - selected over Boeing's X-32 design. The F-35 has a low radar cross section due to the radar absorbent "stealthy" materials used on the aircraft. Also, the shape of the F-35 makes it more difficult to detect on radar.

The F-35 is the DoD's most expensive weapon system ever and schedule delays and cost overruns have dogged the aircraft's development. Recent estimates suggest the F-35 program could exceed $1 trillion over 50 years.

The F-35 is a fifth generation strike fighter which entails increased performance, stealth signature and countermeasures. The advanced avionics, data links, and adverse weather precision targeting incorporate the latest technology available. The highly supportable, affordable, state-of-the-art aircraft is designed to command and maintain global air superiority.

The F-35 Lightning II meets U.S. Air Force Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) requirements with the F-35A, the Marine Corps' Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) requirements with the F-35B variant, and Navy Carrier Variant (CV) requirements with the F-35C. A high degree of commonality among the three variants will reduce life-cycle costs. The F-35A CTOL variant made its first flight on December 15, 2006, followed by the F-35B STOVL (BF-1) on June 11, 2008, and the F-35C CV made its first flight on June 7, 2010.

The F-35 is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan engine. The F-35A is powered by the F135-PW-100 which produces 25,000 pounds of thrust or 40,000 pounds with afterburner; the F-35B is powered by the F135-PW-600 which produces 26,000 pounds of thrust or 38,000 pounds with afterburner as well as 40,000 pounds of vertical thrust (coupled to the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem); and finally, the F-35C is powered by the F135-PW-400 which produces 25,000 pounds of thrust or 40,000 pounds with afterburner. General Electric and Rolls-Royce were developing a second engine for the F-35, however, in early December 2011, the companies stopped all development efforts on the F136 turbofan.

The airframe is built and assembled by Lockheed Martin (forward fuselage and wings), Northrop Grumman (center fuselage), and BAE Systems (aft fuselage and tails). In total, more than 20,000 individual components are used on the F-35. By structural weight, the aircraft is 38% composite. The F-35 is equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 AESA radar system and AN/AAQ-37 Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (EO DAS). The F-35 pilot will wear a helmet-mounted display system (F-35 HMDS) from Collins Elbit Vision Systems (CEVS) (CEVS is a joint venture between Elbit Systems and Collins Aerospace). The targeting system on the F-35 is the nose-mounted Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-40 Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). The F-35's self-protection system is the BAE Systems AN/ASQ-239 Barracuda, an improved version of the F-22's AN/ALR-94 EW suite. Other equipment on the F-35 include the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat; retractable probe for aerial refueling (Cobham), located on the right side of the forward fuselage; Honeywell: Air Management and Life Support Systems; General Electric: standby flight display system, electrical power management system, remote input/output data concentrator unit, weapons control and data electronics, and actuation systems. Also, Goodrich (now Raytheon Technologies) builds the landing gear for the F-35.


The F-35 carries a wide range of ordnance. The aircraft has two internal weapons bays that each can hold two missiles. The F-35 also has six external under-wing hardpoints and one external under-fuselage hardpoint. It is equipped with a General Dynamics GAU-22/A Equalizer 25mm four-barreled gatling gun (internal on the F-35A and externally mounted in a gun pod on the F-35B and F-35C) and carries AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, AGM-154 JSOW, AGM-158 JASSM, the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs as well as several other types of ordnance.

F-35 Production Forecast:

A 15-year F-35 production forecast is available through Forecast International's Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year F-35 production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International's Military Aircraft Forecast service.


The F-35 Lightning II will complement the Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Air Force F-22 Raptor and will replace the Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II, the Navy F/A-18C/D Hornet and the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon. The F-35 will provide all–weather, precision, stealthy, air–to–air and air-to-ground strike capability, including direct attack on the most lethal surface–to–air missiles and air defenses.

FY 2021 & FY 2022 - F-35 DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Lockheed Martin Corp.,
BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric,
Rockwell Collins, and General Dynamics.

Military Aircraft Forecast:

Complete and detailed information, including production forecast data, is provided in our Market Intelligence Service: Military Aircraft Forecast.

Forecast International Budget Data:

With Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, you not only get the latest program news, the DoD funding, worldwide inventories and planned quantities, long range forecasts, but most important – an expert's rationale for all programs and the overall market.

DoD Spending in FY 2018, FY 2019, FY 2020, FY 2021 and FY 2022 + 5-year forecast

Platinum Forecast System:

Military Aircraft Forecast
Military Aircraft Forecast
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F-35 Lightning II JSF