U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II (as part of the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight)

U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II

The United States Air Force F-35A is a fifth-generation fighter aircraft that is the newest fighter aircraft in the fleet. The F-35 will be performing along with classic military aircraft as part of the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight at this year’s show.

The supersonic, multi-role F-35 represents a quantum leap in air dominance capability with enhanced lethality and survivability in hostile, anti-access airspace environments.

The F-35 combines 5th Generation fighter aircraft characteristics — advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support — with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history. The F-35's advanced stealth allows pilots to penetrate areas without being detected by radars that legacy fighters cannot evade.

The F-35 is designed with the entire battlespace in mind, bringing new flexibility and capability to the United States and its allies. Reliance on any single capability — electronic attack, stealth, etc. — is not sufficient for success and survivability in the future. Missions traditionally performed by specialized aircraft — air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic attack, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — can now be executed by a squadron of F-35s.

When it comes to having a ‘quarterback’ for the coalition joint strike force, the inter-operable F-35 is clearly the aircraft for the leadership role. The F-35 is designed to share everything it can see with other aircraft and operation centers to expand situational awareness across the entire network of aircraft. F-35s can support legacy aircraft, as well as other F-35s, to achieve mission success and survivability using a combination of stealth, electronic attack, information sharing, and other measures.

The F-35 is in use by the U.S. Air Force (A model), the U.S. Marine Corps (B model) and the U.S. Navy (C model), along with several other nations who have selected the F-35 to be the multi-role fighter of their air forces. The three F-35 variants have similar performance characteristics, and are mainly distinguished by their different basing requirements. As a result, the F-35B and F-35C variants have unique ways to take off and land.