The jet fighter will enable the Navy to possess 5th generation fighter capabilities at sea, extending America's reach and reducing the time line from threat to response, says a company representative.
"The JSF will show the world that our sailors will never be in a fair fight because this airplane will top anything that comes its way," Roughead says of the F-35. "It will give our sailors and pilots the tactical and technical advantage in the skies, and it will relieve our aircraft as they age out."
The first F-35C, known as CF-1, will undergo a wide-ranging series of ground tests before its first flight, scheduled for late 2009. CF-1 is the ninth F-35 test aircraft to be rolled out, and joins a fleet of F-35A (conventional takeoff and landing) and F-35B (short takeoff/vertical landing) variants that have logged more than 100 flights.
The F-35C is on schedule to meet the Navy's Initial Operational Capability in 2015, and represents a leap in technology and capability over existing fighters, combining stealth with supersonic speed and high agility. The Lightning II employs the most powerful and comprehensive sensor package ever incorporated into a fighter.
The F-35 and F-22 are the world's only 5th generation fighters, characterized by a combination of advanced stealth with supersonic speed and high agility, sensor fusion, network-enabled capabilities, and advanced sustainment.
The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation strike fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.