The Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) team developed three variants designed to meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.K. Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. These variants share a highly common structure that includes the same fuselage and internal weapons bay. The Lockheed Martin aircraft have common outer mold lines with common structural geometries, identical wing sweeps, and similar tail shapes. The aircraft carry weapons in two parallel bays located aft of the main landing gear. The canopy, radar, ejection system, subsystems, and avionics are common. All of the aircraft are powered by a modification of the same core engine, the Pratt & Whitney F119.

Commonality and flexibility were the basis for the Lockheed Martin JSF design. The high degree of commonality among the service aircraft variants, and across the total development and production program, is a key to affordability. Cooperation allows the participating services to share development costs, which in turn greatly reduces total cost, when compared to an independent program for each service. Together, the services plan to purchase approximately 3,000 aircraft, so this highly common design will benefit from economies of scale. Additional international sales of approximately 2000 JSFs may further reduce costs.

The first flight of the X-35A was at October 24, 2000 with LMTAS test pilot Tom Morgenfeld. The X-35A test-program ended November 22, 2000 after 27 test-flights.

The X-35B Short-take-off/vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, with its unique shaft-driven lift-fan propulsion system, achieved its first vertical take-off and vertical landing on June 23, 2001.

The X-35C was one of two Concept Demonstration Aircraft (CDA) designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, as a part of the competition to develop the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as many international partners. The JSF, designated the F-35, will replace the USAF F-16, compliment the USN F/A-18 and replace the USMC F/A-18 and AV-8B aircraft. This new aircraft flew its first flight at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, CA on 16 December 2000. After completing initial Flight Tests at Edwards AFB, CA, the X-35C became the first X aircraft to fly across the United States and arrived at Patuxent River on 10 February 2001. The flight demonstration for the X-35C at Patuxent River was extremely successful, with evaluation emphasis on the low speed performance and handling qualities required for the Navy carrier environment. The X-35C first flight February 12, 2001 is the carrier variant, completed 250 practice carrier landings at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. This is the Navy version of the JSF will be similar to the Air Force version except with a stronger internal structure, landing gear, bigger wing, and arresting hook to allow carrier landings. The X-35C Flight Test Demonstration program was completed on 10 March 2001, after 73 test missions and 58 flight hours, at which time the aircraft was retired. The X-35C was powered by a single Pratt and Whitney F-119 turbofan engine. The sister ship to the X-35C is the X-35A/B, which is now on permanent display in the new Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Museum located at Dulles Airport in Virginia. The very successful Flight Test Program at Patuxent River contributed to Lockheed Martin winning the competition for the production F-35 Program in October 2001. The Navy variant of the F-35 is scheduled to enter fleet operations in 2013. Pax River test pilots that flew the aircraft were LCDR Greg "Fence" Fenton, USN, MAJ Art "Turbo" Tomassetti, USMC, and LCDR Brian "Goz" Goszkowicz, USN. Mr. Andrew Maack was the Lead Flight Test Engineer for the X-35 Program for all three services. The first F-35 production representative SDD test aircraft is scheduled to arrive at Patuxent River in the 2007 timeframe.

On a hot, sunny afternoon on the third Saturday in July 2003, the Joint Strike Fighter X-35C was officially transferred to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum during a festive ceremony ushering in the newest member of the museum's fleet of historic Naval aircraft. An audience of nearly 200 listened as retired Vice Adm. Jack Ready of Lockheed Martin touted the JSF program as the beginning of "a new chapter in Naval aviation where the traditional aircraft is just one component of a fully integrated weapon's system." Our display aircraft, the X-35C, was accepted by the museum in April 2003 and was presented by MajGen John Hudson, USAF, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for the Department of Defense. This aircraft is maintained by the personnel of the VX-23 Test Squadron. The X-35 flight test program was featured in the highly acclaimed PBS documentary, the "Battle of the X-Planes".

Related Information


Other Images