The F-35 Lightning II is a multinational, multi-service, single-pilot fighter designed with first-day-of-the-war, precision all-weather strike capability. This highly survivable fighter will be built in three variants – conventional takeoff and landing, short takeoff/ vertical landing, and carrier-based. Overall, the F-35 cockpit is a generation beyond preceding aircraft, as large liquid crystal touch-screen displays feature color-coded symbology, pictographs, and digital information. Also, the head-up display has been replaced by a helmet-mounted display as the primary flight reference. The complexity of missions, sensors used, and weapons employed make this fifth-generation cockpit necessary. Advanced technology makes it possible.
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman/BAE Systems
Type: Fighter (Multirole)
Number Built: 1 (as of January 2007) 2,581 currently planned
First Flight: 24 October 2000 (X-35A); 16 December 2006 (F-35A)
In Service: Service entry expected in 2012
Notable: The F-35 program is the largest aerospace defense program in US history. Eight international partners comprise the program.
Photographer/Location: Tom Harvey/Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, Texas