America’s “jack of all trades” F-35s were developed to dogfight, provide close air support, execute long-range bombing attacks, and take off from and land on aircraft carriers — all while using the most advanced available stealth capabilities.
Designed and manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s massive production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, the
F-35 Lightning II can carry an impressive 18,000 pounds of lethal ammunition.
Below is a photo of the F-35A (one of the three F-35 variant aircraft) and its weapons suite:
The now nearly $400 billion F-35 weapons program was developed in 2001 to replace the US military’s F-15, F-16, and F-18 aircraft. Since its inception, the fifth generation stealth jet has experienced setbacks that include faulty ejection seats, software delays, helmet display issues, and an inability to dogfight.
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program includes three variant aircraft (the F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C), each designed to meet the specific needs of America’s sister service branches and a number of foreign military buyers such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, Norway, Japan, South Korea, and Israel.
Lockheed Martin says that each F-35A, also referred to as the Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) jet, costs $108 million (including the engine) and is the most requested of the three aircraft.
Thus far, approximately 65 of the anticipated 1,763 F-35A jets have been delivered to the Department of Defence.
The F-35 variants carry a similar arsenal except that the F-35A is the only variant to feature an internal cannon, which is located on the left side of the jet between the cockpit and wing.
Here’s an infographic of the weapons the jets are designed to carry:
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