Sixteen years ago, Lockheed Martin won the contract to build America’s premier fifth generation stealth fighter jet. Australia has committed to buying 72 of the F-35A Lightning IIs variants.
Today, the first two of Australia’s jets will be displayed at the Avalon Airshow in Geelong, Victoria, and make up part of the global Joint Strike Fighter program.
In 2015, Business Insider toured Lockheed Martin’s massive production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where the three F-35 Lightning II variant aircraft are designed and manufactured.
Here is a look at the unique capabilities of the F-35 variant aircraft.
The F-35 is the Pentagon's largest arms program, with an estimated price tag of $391 billion over the next five decades.
Designed for the Navy, the F-35C features longer wings to create drag for the jet to slowly land on aircraft carriers.
'During a normal F-35C launch, the jet goes from zero to 150 miles per hour, travelling the 310-foot length of the catapult in about two seconds,' according to Lockheed Martin.
The F-35A is the only variant that has an internal gun; aside from that, the jets have similar designs.
The F-35C carries 19,750 pounds of fuel, the most fuel of the variant aircraft. All jets have the capability to be refueled in air.
*This article was originally published in October, 2015. It’s has been updated with relevant information to reflect the delivery of Australia’s first F-35s.
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