Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II: The Fighter of the Future

This summer the U.S. Air Force took delivery of the first production of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II -- which the company calls the world’s most advanced aircraft.

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    F-35 1

    An F-35 Lightning II flies over Destin, Fla., before landing at its new home at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., July 14, 2011. Its pilot, Lt. Col. Eric Smith is the first Air Force qualified F-35 pilot and is assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron.
    U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago
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    F-35 2

    U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Smith, a pilot with the 58th Fighter Squadron, passes his helmet to an aircraft maintainer after bringing the first U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter to its new home at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., July 14, 2011.
    U.S. Air Force / Samuel King Jr.
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    F-35 3

    The Department of Defense's first U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft soars over the northwest Florida airspace before landing at its new home at Eglin Air Force Base, July 14, 2011. Its pilot, Lt. Col. Eric Smith of the 58th Fighter Squadron, is the first Air Force qualified JSF pilot.
    U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago
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    F-35 4

    U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian West watches an Air Force F-35 Lightning II joist strike fighter aircraft approach for the first time July 14, 2011, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
    U.S. Air Force / Samuel King Jr.
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    F-35 5

    The Air Force’s first joint strike fighter pilot, Lt. Col. Eric Smith of the 58th Fighter Squadron, taxis his squadron’s newest aircraft, the U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II, to its new home at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., July 14, 2011.
    U.S. Air Force / Samuel King Jr.
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    F-35 6

    The Department of Defense's first U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft soars over the northwest Florida airspace before landing at its new home at Eglin Air Force Base, July 14, 2011. Its pilot, Lt. Col. Eric Smith of the 58th Fighter Squadron, is the first Air Force qualified JSF pilot.
    U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago
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    Edwards_AFB_F_35A_Test_Aircraft

    The Lockheed Martin F-35 is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability.
    Lockheed Martin / Darin Russell
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    F_35_arrives_at_Edwards_AFB

    An F-35 arrives at Edwards AFB.
    Lockheed Martin / Darin Russell
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    F_35_Jet_Blast_Deflector_Testing

    Testing the F-35's blast deflector.
    Lockheed Martin
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    F_35C_Catapult_Testing

    Catapult testing for the F-35C.
    Lockheed Martin / Michael D. Jackson
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    Edwards_AFB_F_35A_Test_Aircraft_2

    The F-35 has three main models; one is a conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is a short take off and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant.
    Lockheed Martin
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    F_35B_100th_Vertical_Landing

    The F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the aircraft.
    Lockheed Martin
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