According to the plans of Pentagon, the F-35 jet fighter will replace most of the combat aircraft used by the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps by 2020.
F-35 is a fifth generation, single engine fighter with advanced software and stealthy attributes adept in evading radar at hostile territory. It is capable to reach a speed of Mach 1.6, has a range of 1,100 kilometers, and can be refueled in the air. The F-25′s bomb bay can carry two air-to-air missiles and two precision-guided bombs. It can carry and additional four bombs or missiles in its wings.
The version for the U.S. Air Force, the F-35A, will replace the F-16 and F-18 bombers as well as the ground attack aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt. The F-35C will be manufactured for the US Navy for its aircraft carriers and will take the place of the F/A18s. A third version, the F-35B is a jump jet that is designed the Harrier’s successor.
Lockheed Martin are called to make 2,443 units of F-35 for the American military and several hundred units more for the eight nations who invested in the development and manufacturing of the F-35. The eight nations are Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey. Lockheed Martin will also produce units of F-35 for its customers such as Japan and Israel.
Compared to earlier weapons program, the Production cost of the F-35 was expected to be reduced because the 80% of the parts are common to three F-35 airplane models. However, the weapons program are met with problems and delays that can put the Pentagon’s 2020 goal in jeopardy.
News source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com
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