Lockheed Martin today celebrated the rollout of the U.S. Navyâ€™s first-ever stealth fighter, the F-35C Lightning II. The aircraft will enable the Navy to possess 5th generation fighter capabilities at sea, extending Americaâ€™s reach and reducing the timeline from threat to response.
Tom Burbage, a former Navy test pilot and the vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration for Lockheed Martin, thanked Navy leadership for being fully engaged in the F-35â€™s development and â€œactively working to define joint and coalition tactics that will exploit this platform in ways weâ€™ve never envisioned. We at Lockheed Martin are both proud and humbled by the trust the U.S. Navy has placed with us to lead the development and introduction of the Navyâ€™s newest stealthy, supersonic strike fighter.â€
The first F-35C, known as CF-1, will undergo a wide-ranging series of ground tests before its first flight, scheduled for late 2009. CF-1 is the ninth F-35 test aircraft to be rolled out, and joins a fleet of F-35A (conventional takeoff and landing) and F-35B (short takeoff/vertical landing) variants that have logged more than 100 flights.
The F-35C is on schedule to meet the Navyâ€™s Initial Operational Capability in 2015, and represents a leap in technology and capability over existing fighters, combining stealth with supersonic speed and high agility. The Lightning II employs the most powerful and comprehensive sensor package ever incorporated into a fighter.
The F-35C possesses uncompromised carrier suitability and low-maintenance stealth materials designed for long-term durability in the carrier environment. The Lightning IIâ€™s operational and support costs are forecast to be lower than those of the fighters it will replace.
The F-35 and F-22 are the worldâ€™s only 5th generation fighters, uniquely characterized by a combination of advanced stealth with supersonic speed and high agility, sensor fusion, network-enabled capabilities and advanced sustainment. The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation strike fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.
Photo: Lockheed Martin
Source: Lockheed Martin