Two F-35C Lightning II aircraft attached to the Argonauts of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, fly in formation for a photo exercise over the California desert.
NAVAL AIR STATION LEMOORE, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2018) Two F-35C Lightning II aircraft attached to the Argonauts of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore, fly in formation for a photo exercise over the California desert. VFA-147 is the first U.S. Navy Operational F-35C squadron based out of NAS Lemoore. Commander, Joint Strike Fighter Wing, headquartered at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. ensures that each F-35C squadron is fully combat-ready to conduct carrier-based, all-weather, attack, fighter and support missions for Commander, Naval Air Forces. With its stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35C will be the first 5th generation aircraft operated from an aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon E. Renfroe) File# 181116-N-FC670-1425
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.