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F-35 Lightning II

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is the fifth-generation combat aircraft, a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighter designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions. It has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) variant. The F-35 descends from the Lockheed Martin X-35, the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. It is built by Lockheed Martin and many subcontractors, including Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, and BAE Systems.

The most expensive $400-billion military program ever, the F-35 became the subject of much scrutiny and criticism in the U.S. and in other countries. By 2014, the program was $163 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule. The Air Force’s F-35A appears to be exempt from the major flaws, but the Marine Corps’ vertical-landing F-35B and the Navy’s carrier-compatible F-35C both suffer what the services call “category 1” deficiencies. The problems might also help to explain why US defense secretary Patrick Shanahan reportedly described the F-35 program as “f... up.”

Some NATO members and close U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey contribute to its development. These funders generally receive subcontracts to manufacture components for the aircraft.

The U.S. plans to buy 2,663 F-35s, which will provide the bulk of the crewed tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps in coming decades.
Australian Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II  -  Luke Air Force Base, AZ, UNITED STATES 06.27.2018
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Air Force KC-135 refuels a Joint Strike Fighter

Air Force KC-135 refuels a Joint Strike Fighter

Mojave Desert, Calif. (Nov. 07, 2000) A Lockheed Martin X-35A Joint Strike Fighter receives fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker during a test mission. The Joint Strike Fighter is the military's next... more

Air Force KC-135 refuels a Joint Strike Fighter

Air Force KC-135 refuels a Joint Strike Fighter

Mojave Desert, Calif. (Nov. 07, 2000) A Lockheed Martin X-35A Joint Strike Fighter receives fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker during a test mission. The Joint Strike Fighter is the military's next... more

X-35C JSF Test Flight

X-35C JSF Test Flight

Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. (Feb. 10, 2001) The naval variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, X-35C, arrives at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, flown by U.S. Marine Corps Major Art "Turbo" T... more

An F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter idles on the flight deck of the  the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1)

An F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter idles on the flight deck of...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (May. 18, 2001) An F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter idles on the flight deck of the the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in preparation for take-off. The short take-off, vertical ... more

SECNAV visits JSF Test Facility, Maryland

SECNAV visits JSF Test Facility, Maryland

Naval Air Station, Patuxant River, MD (Jan. 17, 2002) Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Gordon England (right) tours the test and evaluation facility onboard the station, which included an up close inspection... more

he LHA(R) will be the U.S. Navy�s newest multifunctional and most versatile amphibious assault ship.

he LHA(R) will be the U.S. Navy�s newest multifunctional and most vers...

Northrop Grumman Corporation (Jul. 18, 2005) The LHA(R) will be the U.S. Navys newest multifunctional and most versatile amphibious assault ship. It will incorporate enhanced aviation capabilities centered arou... more

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lo...

Ft. Worth, Texas (Jul. 07, 2006) The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas. "Lighting II" is expected to be the largest military aircra... more

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lo...

Ft. Worth, Texas (Jul. 07, 2006) The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas. "Lighting II" is expected to be the largest military aircra... more

Texas Members of the U.S. Congress and Armed Forces from multiple countries participated in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Inauguration, held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Texas Members of the U.S. Congress and Armed Forces from multiple coun...

Ft. Worth, Texas (Jul. 07, 2006) Texas Members of the U.S. Congress and Armed Forces from multiple countries participated in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Inauguration, held at Lockheed Martin Corporation... more

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lo...

Ft. Worth, Texas (Jul. 07, 2006) The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas. "Lighting II" is expected to be the largest military aircra... more

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lo...

Ft. Worth, Texas (Jul. 07, 2006) The inauguration of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was held at Lockheed Martin Corporation, in Ft. Worth, Texas. "Lighting II" is expected to be the largest military aircra... more

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England and Australian Minister for Defense Brendan Nelson shake hands after signing the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Memorandum of Understanding.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England and Australian Minister ...

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 12, 2006) Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England and Australian Minister for Defense Brendan Nelson shake hands after signing the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Memorandum of Understan... more

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England and Australian Minister for Defense Brendan Nelson sign the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Memorandum of Understanding.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England and Australian Minister ...

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 12, 2006) Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England and Australian Minister for Defense Brendan Nelson sign the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Memorandum of Understanding as Secretary of ... more

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and Australian Minister for Defense Brendan Nelson listen to a reporter's question.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, Secretary of State Condole...

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 12, 2006) Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and Australian Minister for Defense Bre... more

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin takes off for its first flight to test the aircraft's initial capability at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin t...

Fort Worth, Texas (Dec. 15, 2006) The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin takes off for its first flight to test the aircraft's initial capability at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. ... more

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin takes off for its first flight to test the aircraft's initial capability at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin t...

Fort Worth, Texas (Dec. 15, 2006) The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin takes off for its first flight to test the aircraft's initial capability at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. ... more

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin takes off for its first flight to test the aircraft's initial capability at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin t...

Fort Worth, Texas (Dec. 15, 2006) The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II, built by Lockheed Martin takes off for its first flight to test the aircraft's initial capability at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. ... more

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead addresses the crowd at a ceremony in Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth plant celebrating the rollout of the U.S. Navy's first-ever stealth fighter, the F-35C Lightning II.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead addresses the crowd at a ...

FORT WORTH, Texas (Jul. 28, 2009) Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead addresses the crowd at a ceremony in Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth plant celebrating the rollout of the U.S. Navy's first-ever steal... more

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead delivers remarks during the rollout ceremony for the F-35C Lightning II, the Navy's first-ever stealth fighter.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead delivers remarks du...

FORT WORTH, Texas (Jul. 28, 2009) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead delivers remarks during the rollout ceremony for the F-35C Lightning II, the Navy's first-ever stealth fighter. The aircraft ... more

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead participates in the rollout ceremony for the F-35C Lightning II, the Navy's first-ever stealth fighter.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead participates in the...

FORT WORTH, Texas (Jul. 28, 2009) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead participates in the rollout ceremony for the F-35C Lightning II, the Navy's first-ever stealth fighter. The aircraft will ena... more

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead speaks with Jeff

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead speaks with Jeff

FORT WORTH, Texas (Jul. 28, 2009) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead speaks with Jeff "Slim" Knowels, an F-35C Lightning II test pilot, while touring the F-35 Production Operations and Integrate... more

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Ray Mabus, receives a tour of the production line of the U.S. Navy's first-ever stealth fighter.

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Ray Mabus, receives a to...

FORT WORTH, Texas (Dec. 05, 2009) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Ray Mabus, receives a tour of the production line of the U.S. Navy's first-ever stealth fighter, the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter Li... more

Vice Adm. David Venlet alutes Vice Adm. David Architzel during the NAVAIR change of command.

Vice Adm. David Venlet alutes Vice Adm. David Architzel during the NAV...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (May. 18, 2010) Vice Adm. David Venlet, left, outgoing commanding officer of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), salutes Vice Adm. David Architzel, his relief and the 31st commander of NAVAI... more

The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy's first stealth fighter, arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:37 p.m. EST.

The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy's first st...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Nov. 06, 2010) The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy's first stealth fighter, arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:37 p.m. EST. Th... more

The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy's first stealth fighter, arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:37 p.m.

The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy's first st...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Nov. 06, 2010) The first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, the U.S. Navy's first stealth fighter, arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2:37 p.m. EST. Th... more

The U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight over the Chesapeake Bay.

The U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, con...

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Feb. 11, 2011) The U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight over the Chesapeake Bay. Lt. Cmdr. Eric "Magic" Buus flew the F-35... more

An F-35B test aircraft completes its 100th flight with Lockheed Martin test pilot David

An F-35B test aircraft completes its 100th flight with Lockheed Martin...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Feb. 26, 2011) An F-35B test aircraft completes its 100th flight with Lockheed Martin test pilot David "Doc" Nelson at the controls. The F-35B is the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strik... more

An F-35C Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft returns from a flutter envelope expansion flight.

An F-35C Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft returns from a flutter env...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Mar. 04, 2011) An F-35C Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft returns from a flutter envelope expansion flight. Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Matt Kelly flew the aircraft faster than the sp... more

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead, left, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus, and Commandant of the Marine Corps James F. Amos sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead, left, Secretary of...

WASHINGTON (Mar. 14, 2011) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead, left, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus, and Commandant of the Marine Corps James F. Amos sign a Memorandum of... more

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead, left, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus, and Commandant of the Marine Corps James F. Amos sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead, left, Secretary of...

WASHINGTON (Mar. 14, 2011) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead, left, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus, and Commandant of the Marine Corps James F. Amos sign a Memorandum of... more

Commandant of the Marine Corps James F. Amos delivers remarks after  signing a Memorandum of Understanding for Tactical Air Integration.

Commandant of the Marine Corps James F. Amos delivers remarks after s...

WASHINGTON (Mar. 14, 2011) Commandant of the Marine Corps James F. Amos delivers remarks after signing a Memorandum of Understanding for Tactical Air Integration with Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorab... more

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Mar. 22, 2011) U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt "Opie" Taylor pilots a Navy F-35 flight test aircraft CF-1 during approach to the TC-7 catapult at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The CF-1 ... more

U.S. Marine Corp Lt. Col. Matt

U.S. Marine Corp Lt. Col. Matt

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Mar. 22, 2011) U.S. Marine Corp Lt. Col. Matt "Opie" Taylor pilots a Navy F-35 flight test aircraft CF-1 during approach to the TC-7 catapult at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The CF-1 c... more

An F-35C Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft takes off from Naval Air Station Patuxtent River during a test flight.

An F-35C Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft takes off from Naval Air S...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (May. 05, 2011) An F-35C Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft takes off from Naval Air Station Patuxtent River during a test flight. Naval Air Systems Command announced May 17 that the test ai... more

he second F-35C test aircraft (CF-2) arrives at Naval Air Station Patuxent River May 16. CF-2 is the designated loads test aircraft.

he second F-35C test aircraft (CF-2) arrives at Naval Air Station Patu...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (May. 16, 2011) The second F-35C test aircraft (CF-2) arrives at Naval Air Station Patuxent River May 16. CF-2 is the designated loads test aircraft, which will expand the flight envelope fo... more

An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies over Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies ov...

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (May. 21, 2011) An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies over Andrews Air Force Base, Md., during the Joint Service Open House. This is the first public ap... more

An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies over Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies ov...

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (May. 21, 2011) An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies over Andrews Air Force Base, Md., during the Joint Service Open House. This is the first public ap... more

An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies over Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies ov...

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (May. 21, 2011) An aircraft carrier variant of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter flies over Andrews Air Force Base, Md., during the Joint Service Open House. This is the first public ap... more

Test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Eric

Test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Eric

LAKEHURST, N.J. (Jun. 25, 2011) Test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Eric "Magic" Buus lands the F-35C test aircraft CF-2 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. CF-2 and the F-35 integrated test team from Naval Air Station Patux... more

The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) transits San Diego bay while heading out to sea for the first time in nearly 11 months.

The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) transits San ...

SAN DIEGO (Jul. 08, 2011) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) transits San Diego bay while heading out to sea for the first time in nearly 11 months. Bonhomme Richard completed a $100-milli... more

The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) passes under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge while heading out to sea for the first time in nearly 11 months.

The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) passes under ...

SAN DIEGO (Jul. 08, 2011) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) passes under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge while heading out to sea for the first time in nearly 11 months. Bonhomme Richard co... more

 An F-35C test aircraft CF-3 is brought to launch position on a test catapult by Navy test pilot Cmdr. Eric

An F-35C test aircraft CF-3 is brought to launch position on a test c...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jul. 19, 2011) An F-35C test aircraft CF-3 is brought to launch position on a test catapult by Navy test pilot Cmdr. Eric "Magic" Buus. The test demonstrated proper catapult hook-up in prep... more

An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from a steam catapult for the first time. CF-3 is the designated carrier suitability test aircraft.

An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from...

LAKEHURST, N.J. (Jul. 27, 2011) An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from a steam catapult for the first time. CF-3 is the designated carrier suitability test aircraft. The F-35C ca... more

 An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from a steam catapult for the first time. CF-3 is the designated carrier suitability test aircraft.

An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches fro...

LAKEHURST, N.J. (Jul. 27, 2011) An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from a steam catapult for the first time. CF-3 is the designated carrier suitability test aircraft. The F-35C ca... more

An F-35C test aircraft CF-1, rear, with an F/A-18E Super Hornet prepares for two-aircraft jet blast deflector testing.

An F-35C test aircraft CF-1, rear, with an F/A-18E Super Hornet prepar...

LAKEHURST, N.J. (Aug. 13, 2011) An F-35C test aircraft CF-1, rear, with an F/A-18E Super Hornet prepares for two-aircraft jet blast deflector testing. F-35C carrier suitability testing is ongoing with catapult ... more

Capt. Wallace Lovely, deputy commodore of Task Group 73.1, speaks with a Bangladesh naval officer in the pilothouse aboard the Bangladesh navy corvette BNS Bijoy (F35).

Capt. Wallace Lovely, deputy commodore of Task Group 73.1, speaks with...

BAY OF BENGAL (Sep. 23, 2011) Capt. Wallace Lovely, deputy commodore of Task Group 73.1, speaks with a Bangladesh naval officer in the pilothouse aboard the Bangladesh navy corvette BNS Bijoy (F35) while return... more

An F-35B Lightning II  makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight de...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike For... more

An F-35B Lightning II  makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1

An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight de...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike For... more

An F-35B Lightning II  makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight de...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike For... more

An F-35B Lightning II  makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight de...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike For... more

An F-35B Lightning II conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Ocean.

An F-35B Lightning II conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Oc...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike Force variant of the Joint Strike Fighter and is designed for... more

An F-35B Lightning II  makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight de...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike For... more

An aviation boatswain's mate directs an F-35B Lightning II after it completes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An aviation boatswain's mate directs an F-35B Lightning II after it co...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An aviation boatswain's mate directs an F-35B Lightning II after it completes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1... more

An F-35B Lightning II prepares to make the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An F-35B Lightning II prepares to make the first vertical landing on a...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II prepares to make the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint ... more

An F-35B Lightning II conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Ocean.

An F-35B Lightning II conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Oc...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II conducts initial sea trials over the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike Force variant of the Joint Strike Fighter and is designed for... more

An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight dec...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 03, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II makes the first vertical landing on a flight deck at sea aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike Forc... more

Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Kristopher Smith gives the thumbs up for pilot Lt. Col. Fred Schenk to lift an F-35B Lightning II off the flight deck.

Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Kristopher Smith gives the ...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 04, 2011) Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Kristopher Smith gives the thumbs up for pilot Lt. Col. Fred Schenk to lift an F-35B Lightning II off the flight deck of the amphibious ... more

Lt. Col. Fred Schenk lifts an F-35B Lightning II off the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

Lt. Col. Fred Schenk lifts an F-35B Lightning II off the flight deck o...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 04, 2011) Lt. Col. Fred Schenk lifts an F-35B Lightning II off the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike Force variant of t... more

An F-35B Lightning II is secured in the hangar bay aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An F-35B Lightning II is secured in the hangar bay aboard the amphibio...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 04, 2011) An F-35B Lightning II is secured in the hangar bay aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike Force variant of the Joint Strik... more

he F-35B Lightning 11 performs a vertical landing for ship trials aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

he F-35B Lightning 11 performs a vertical landing for ship trials aboa...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 05, 2011) The F-35B Lightning 11 performs a vertical landing for ship trials aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter for th... more

The F-35B Lightning 11 takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1)

The F-35B Lightning 11 takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS ...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 05, 2011) The F-35B Lightning II takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) for day three of ship trials. The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter for the U.S. ... more

An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from a from a degraded test catapult.

An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from...

LAKEHURST, N.J. (Oct. 06, 2011) An F-35C test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches from a from a degraded test catapult. The test used an intentionally degraded catapult to check the aircraft's r... more

The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to S...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) after an awards ceremony. Wasp is underway conduct... more

BF-02, front, and BF-04, two Marine Corps variants of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, are secured on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during sea trials.

BF-02, front, and BF-04, two Marine Corps variants of the F-35B Lighti...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) BF-02, front, and BF-04, two Marine Corps variants of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, are secured on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) du... more

An aviation boatswain's mate maneuvers BF-04, front, the U.S. Marine Corps variant of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, after a vertical landing aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

An aviation boatswain's mate maneuvers BF-04, front, the U.S. Marine C...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) An aviation boatswain's mate maneuvers BF-04, front, the U.S. Marine Corps variant of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, after a vertical landing aboard the amphibious as... more

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines during an all hands call aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines during an all hands call aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). Mabus and Commandant of the Ma... more

The BF-04, bottom, the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35B Lighting II, maneuvers after a vertical landing.

The BF-04, bottom, the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighte...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) The BF-04, bottom, the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35B Lighting II, maneuvers after a vertical landing. The BF-02, the second F-35B Lighting II, approaches ... more

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observes as an F-35B Lightning II takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observes as an ...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observes as an F-35B Lightning II takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). Mabus and Commandant of the M... more

BF-02, front, and BF-04, two Marine Corps variants of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, are secured on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during sea trials.

BF-02, front, and BF-04, two Marine Corps variants of the F-35B Lighti...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) BF-02, front, and BF-04, two Marine Corps variants of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, are secured on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) du... more

An Aviation Boatswains Mate maneuvers BF-04, bottom, the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35B Lighting II,  after a vertical landing.

An Aviation Boatswains Mate maneuvers BF-04, bottom, the Marine Corps ...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) An Aviation Boatswains Mate maneuvers BF-04, bottom, the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35B Lighting II, after a vertical landing. The BF-02 (back), the seco... more

Spectators, including Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observe an F-35B Lightning II land aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

Spectators, including Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) Spectators, including Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observe an F-35B Lightning II land aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). SECNAV along w... more

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailo...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). Mabus and Comman... more

BF-04, front, a Marine Corps variant of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, maneuvers after a vertical landing as BF-02 approaches the flight deck for landing on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1).

BF-04, front, a Marine Corps variant of the F-35B Lighting II Joint St...

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) BF-04, front, a Marine Corps variant of the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, maneuvers after a vertical landing as BF-02 approaches the flight deck for landing on the amphi... more

An F-35C Lightning II test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert prepares for the first launch of a Joint Strike Fighter from the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system.

An F-35C Lightning II test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert ...

LAKEHURST, N.J. (Nov. 18, 2011) An F-35C Lightning II test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert prepares for the first launch of a Joint Strike Fighter from the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system.... more

An F-35C Lightning II test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches for the first time from the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system.

An F-35C Lightning II test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert ...

LAKEHURST, N.J. (Nov. 18, 2011) An F-35C Lightning II test aircraft piloted by Lt. Christopher Tabert launches for the first time from the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system. The new launch system will ... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to military members and civilian workers at the Joint Strike Fighter hanger at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to military members and ci...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to military members and civilian workers at the Joint Strike Fighter hanger at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Secreta... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the Aircraft Prototype Facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the Aircraft Prototype Facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Secretary Pan... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the cockpit of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the cockpit of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by Captain (USN) Erik "Rock" Etz at Naval Air S... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the engine of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the engine of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by Captain (USN) Erik "Rock" Etz at Naval Air St... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to military members and civilian workers at the Joint Strike Fighter hanger at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to military members and ci...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to military members and civilian workers at the Joint Strike Fighter hanger at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Secreta... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to members of the Italian military at the Joint Strike Fighter hanger at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to members of the Italian ...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta speaks to members of the Italian military at the Joint Strike Fighter hanger at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Secretary Pan... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is shown the Joint Strike Fighter Manned Flight Simulator.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is shown the Joint Strike Fighter...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is shown the Joint Strike Fighter Manned Flight Simulator by Lieutenant Colonel (USMC) Fed "Tinman" Schenk at Naval Air Station Patuxent ... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta receives a brief from Captain (USN) Erik

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta receives a brief from Captain (US...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta receives a brief from Captain (USN) Erik "Rock" Etz at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Secretary Panetta toured several facil... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta receives a brief from Captain (USN) Erik

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta receives a brief from Captain (US...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta receives a brief from Captain (USN) Erik "Rock" Etz at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Secretary Panetta toured several facil... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is greeted by Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) upon his arrival at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is greeted by Congressman Steny H...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is greeted by Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) upon his arrival at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. 2012. Secretary Panetta and ... more

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the Advanced Systems Integration Laboratory at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jan. 20, 2012) Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md) are shown the Advanced Systems Integration Laboratory at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. S... more

Royal Air Force test pilot Squadron Leader Jim Schofield taxis an F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft after his first flight in the carrier variant.

Royal Air Force test pilot Squadron Leader Jim Schofield taxis an F-35...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Feb. 21, 2012) Royal Air Force test pilot Squadron Leader Jim Schofield taxis an F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft after his first flight in the carrier variant. Schofie... more

Royal Air Force test pilot Squadron Leader Jim Schofield sits in the cockpit of an F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft after his first flight in the carrier variant.

Royal Air Force test pilot Squadron Leader Jim Schofield sits in the c...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Feb. 21, 2012) Royal Air Force test pilot Squadron Leader Jim Schofield sits in the cockpit of an F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft after his first flight in the carrier... more

Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flies F-35B test aircraft BF-2 with external weapons pylons for the first time.

Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flies F-35B test aircraft BF-2 wi...

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Feb. 22, 2012) Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flies F-35B test aircraft BF-2 with external weapons pylons for the first time. The test measured flying qualities with... more

Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flies F-35B test aircraft BF-2 with external weapons pylons for the first time.

Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flies F-35B test aircraft BF-2 wi...

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Feb. 22, 2012) Lockheed Martin test pilot Dan Levin flies F-35B test aircraft BF-2 with external weapons pylons for the first time. The test measured flying qualities with... more

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 on a formation test flight

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lig...

ATLANTIC TEST RANGE (Apr. 18, 2012) Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 on a formation test flight in the Atlantic te... more

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 on a formation test flight

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lig...

ATLANTIC TEST RANGE (Apr. 18, 2012) Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 on a formation test flight in the Atlantic te... more

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor take off in F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 for a formation test flight

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor take off in F...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Apr. 18, 2012) Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor take off in F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 for a formation test flight in the At... more

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 on a formation test flight

Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lig...

ATLANTIC TEST RANGE (Apr. 18, 2012) Cmdr. Eric Buus and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matthew Taylor fly F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft CF-1 and CF-2 on a formation test flight in the Atlantic te... more

An F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft conducts the first in-flight launch of an AIM-120 C5 missile.

An F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft conducts the...

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., (Jun. 05, 2012) An F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft conducts the first in-flight launch of an AIM-120 C5 missile. The aircraft, known as AF-1, launched the ... more

An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft takes off during an evening flight.

An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft takes off dur...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jun. 13, 2012) An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft takes off during an evening flight. This was the first evening flight of an F-35C. (U.S. Navy photo by Andy Wolfe) Fi... more

Cmdr. Eric Buus pilots the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft BF-2 as it completes the first test flight for the short takeoff and vertical landing variant with an asymmetric weapons load.

Cmdr. Eric Buus pilots the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft BF...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jun. 14, 2012) Cmdr. Eric Buus pilots the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft BF-2 as it completes the first test flight for the short takeoff and vertical landing variant with an asym... more

The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the first time with external weapons.

The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the fir...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jun. 27, 2012) The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the first time with external weapons. Navy test pilot Lt. Christopher Tabert flew CF-1 with inert AIM-9X Sidewi... more

he carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the first time with external weapons.

he carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the firs...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jun. 27, 2012) The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the first time with external weapons. Navy test pilot Lt. Christopher Tabert flew CF-1 with inert AIM-9X Sidewi... more

The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the first time with external weapons.

The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the fir...

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Jun. 27, 2012) The carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flies for the first time with external weapons. Navy test pilot Lt. Christopher Tabert flew CF-1 with inert AIM-9X Sidewi... more