In modern warfare, airpower is arguably the most important asset that a military can have. From the P-51 Mustang to the F-22 Raptor, the U.S has always been good in this regard.
With the strongest arsenal of fighter jets in the world, the U.S is usually defines “modern airpower” instead of striving for it. As such, it’s no surprise that so many countries have joined up with America so that they can get a piece of the latest batch of fighter jets. In the 90’s, the U.S, Canada, the U.K, Australia, the Netherlands, and their allies formed the Joint Strike Fighter program.
The JSF program was formed in an attempt to design a multi-purpose aircraft that could replace most existing fighter jets. A competition for the development contract was put into place where several major aerospace corporations pitted their designs against each other. On October 26, 2001 Lockheed Martin beat out Boeing and won the contract with its X-35 fighter jet, later evolving into the F-35. The aircraft has been in development for almost twelve years now and it’s been anything but a smooth process.
The F-35’s development has been marred with cost increases, delays, performance and safety concerns, and several clashes between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon. For a while there were concerns about the project’s future. Now, however, it seems that we’re finally seeing progress. The first vertical take-offs were performed in 2011 and last Thursday, the F-35 completed its first short take-offs and vertical landings. The U.S Marine Corps is slated to be the first military branch to receive the F-35s with the first batches coming in 2015. The other U’S military branches and the allied militaries will begin seeing their first F-35s sometime after 2016.
With the recent tests of the F-35, America and her allies are another step closer to upgrading their arsenal. Here’s the F-35B in action:
Bruce Sallan says
There’s really only one word: WOW!