Universal fighter was developed by Lockheed Martin by order of the Ministry of Defense of the country. In addition to America, the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL model will also be adopted by the Air Forces of Great Britain and Italy.
The F-35 series aircraft are fifth generation fighters, combining, according to the manufacturer, increased flight stealth with the speed and agility of aircraft of its class, as well as lower operating and maintenance costs. Lockheed Martin is building the F-35 with its main partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The aircraft's two interchangeable engines are from the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.
In total, the company developed three varieties of F-35. The first, the F-35A, with the usual take-off and landing, is the smallest and easiest version of the fighter. It is the only option equipped with an integrated GAU-25 / A 22-mm four-barrel cannon. The aircraft will be commissioned by the United States Air Force and a number of its NATO partners in 2013.
The second variant, F-35C, has an increased payload, better handling at low flight speeds and is capable of landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier. This aircraft will appear in the 2014 year and will be used exclusively by the US Navy.
Finally, the F-35B, identical in size to the F-35C, is the most advanced aircraft in the series. The ability to transport a large amount of fuel on board was sacrificed in it for an innovative technology of vertical take-off and landing - the shaft-driven lift fan system. Similar to a huge computer cooler device that raises and lowers the aircraft, is located immediately behind the cockpit. The whole system, which also includes stabilizing tubes in wings coming into a vertical position, working together with a single engine of a combat aircraft, provides traction in 18 t. It is characteristic that a fighter can take off and land in the usual way - the modes are switched by pressing a button.
Together with the ability to work with multiple ships or runways with disabilities, the F-35B is designed for flying directly at the front line, with reduced flight time to the target and the ability to make more departures with less need for preparatory work for take-off and landing. The ability to carry on board 7 tons of fuel provides a range of flight 1450 km. F-35B will be adopted by the US Marine Corps already in 2012 year.
In mid-November, the first Lockheed Martin F-35B was flown to the Patuxent River Naval Airfield for vertical take-off and landing tests. Tests of this and other instances of this model will be conducted during the year. "We are fully confident in the capabilities of this aircraft and we expect it to exceed our customers' expectations," said Dan Crowley, vice president of Lockheed Martin, general manager of the F-35 program. “On Patuxent River, the F-35B will have to confirm the capabilities of our revolutionary propulsion system through multiple quick take-offs, flights and vertical landings.”
Lockheed Martin is a global company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, with a staff of about 140 thousand people worldwide. Engaged in research, design, development, manufacture, integration and support of security technologies, products and services. In 2008, the company's sales totaled 42,7 billion.
- Andrey Serdechnov