What comes to mind when you think of purchasing a vehicle? The make? The model? The cost? What about options? Can you customize it to fit your needs? Can your vehicle reach speeds of 1,200 miles per hour (or Mach 1.6)? Can your vehicle land on a flight deck? How about vertically?
Wait… What kind of vehicle are we talking about here?
On paper, the F-35 Lightning II may sound like a larger than life and an out of this world aerial vehicle, but in reality, this fifth-generation multi-role air system is the aircraft of choice here and now; it is already being operated by the United States Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, and seven international partners as well as foreign military customers.
“More than a strike fighter, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data, is the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft ever built,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, the JPO’s Program Executive Officer. “This aircraft is the premier strike fighter that enables our warfighters to execute their mission and come back home safely.”
Currently there are three variants available – the F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C – with an individual price tag of between $77 million and $101 million, depending on the model. While it may seem like a steep price to pay, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO) ensures that the F-35 remains affordable for the U.S. services, international partners, and customers through cost reduction across the acquisition life cycle.
“The JPO has strategic affordability initiatives throughout the program aimed at reducing the total cost of ownership of the F-35,” said Caroline Dyer, director of program affordability. “The JPO, in partnership with industry, are utilizing the driver tree approach to understand the cost baseline of the program and jointly focus their resources on initiatives which will see the near to midterm costs being reduced.”
When it comes to options, each variant has been customized to adapt to the warfighter. For the U.S. Air Force and most international allied customers, the F-35A is the vehicle of choice due to its ability to operate from conventional runways. For the U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom and the Italian Air Force and Navy, the F-35B lands vertically like a helicopter and has the ability to take off in very short distances, which allows its customers to operate in a variety of environments like short-field bases or air-capable ships. For the U.S. Navy, the F-35C was at first built with the Department of the Navy’s aircraft carrier operations in mind and is the service’s first stealth strike fighter.
“One way to look at it is that each of the services has unique operational requirements for their fifth-generation mission,” said Andrew Maack, Naval Air Station Patuxent River Integrated Test Force chief test engineer. “The Joint Advanced Strike Technology or Joint Strike Fighter F-35 program managed to add as much commonality as possible between those service requirements and produce them as a family of variants.”
This bevy of options enables pilots to operate in any environment against any threat, but what about available advanced technology? Each series comes equipped with mission systems that support very low observable (VLO) stealth; and each have the most advanced sensors, information fusion and network connectivity – all packaged within in a supersonic, long range, highly maneuverable strike fighter aircraft.
“The powerful combination of sensors automated through sensor fusion enables the pilot to fully employ the F-35 as a tactician rather than a sensor manager,” said Lee Venturino, senior mission effectiveness engineer. “With greater freedom to maneuver and more mental bandwidth available, the F-35 provides unparalleled lethality and survivability for the U.S., partners, and allies. The F-35 is delivered with 100% interoperability, allowing our partners and allies to fully integrate with U.S. forces, extending the protective reach and enabling freedom of operations around the world.”
F-35 JPO and its industry partners allow its customers to request modifications that will further enhance their aircraft’s capabilities which in turn makes it the world’s most versatile, lethal, survivable, and connected strike fighter. Simply put, the F-35 is capable of successfully executing any and all missions, including new missions not traditionally fulfilled by older fighters.
Now that you’ve selected which F-35 variant (or) make and model best suits your need, you’re on your way to learning about the next step in the process – acquisition.
|Date Posted:||12.14.2022 13:03|
|Location:||ARLINGTON, VA, US|