F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program
April 26/17: Two US F-35As have landed in Estonia for the first time, in what is being described as a show of NATO solidarity and reinforcement of US commitments to protecting NATO members along Russia’s borders. The visit of the Joint Strike Fighters, which flew from UK and spent several hours in Estonia, is part of broader US jet pilot training program across Europe as the NATO alliance seeks to deter Moscow from any possible incursion in the Baltics. Training with the fifth-generation fighters is expected to last several weeks and the F-35 pilots will undergo exercises with other NATO aircraft as well as showcase the fighter’s capabilities to allies that are also acquiring F-35 fleets.
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer.
The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, many of these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports during 2012-2013.
The F-35 Lightning II Fighter Family
F-35 Family Variants: Door A, B, or C?
F-35s: Key Features
Pimp My Ride: Weapons & Accessories
The F-35 Family: Controversies and Competitions
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: The Program
F-35 JSF: Programs by Country
Home Base: The American Program
Australia (Tier 3)
Britain (Tier 1)
Canada (Tier 3)
Denmark (Tier 3)
Italy (Tier 2)
The Netherlands (Tier 2)
Norway (Tier 3)
Turkey (Tier 3)
Israel (Security Cooperation Partner)
Singapore (Security Cooperation Partner)
Exports: Beyond the Program Team
Future Sales Opportunities
F-35 Contracts & Decisions
FY 2013 – 2017
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