This article is part of AIN’s comprehensive coverage of the F-35. Click here for news, videos and images of the long-awaited Joint Strike Fighter.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was formally named Lightning II at the program’s Fort Worth, Texas headquarters nine days ago. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics president Ralph Heath said the name perpetuated the legacy of two great fighter aircraft–the World War II-vintage American P-38 and the British Lightning jet interceptor designed in the 1950s. At an eve-of-show dinner in London, Heath claimed that “tactical aviation will never be the same again” thanks to his company’s development of the F-35 and its even-stealthier cousin, the F-22 Raptor. In addition to low-observability, the Lightning II offers an unprecedented degree of sensor fusion and connectivity, he added. Lockheed Martin hopes to fly the first of 15 preproduction aircraft on October 31, Heath said. At a briefing here tomorrow, F-35 program officials will no doubt be quizzed on progress in the development; potential production work for the eight partner countries; and technology transfer issues. For a full discussion of the JSF program.