F-35 Lightning II

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine, stealth-capable military strike fighter, a multirole aircraft that can perform close air support, tactical bombing, and air defense missions. The F-35 has three different models; one is the conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is short takeoff and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant.

The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Its development is being principally funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom, and other partner governments providing additional funding. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as major partners.

The joint RAF/Royal Navy requirement is tentatively set ay 138 F-35B STOVL aircraft, but this will be subject to confirmation when a purchase decision is made, around 2013. Service entry is currently targeted for around 2017. The United Kingdom is to purchase three aircraft in 2011 as its contribution to the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase of the JSF programme, and the Netherlands has also confirmed its intent to fund two conventional F-35A for the same trials.

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