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X35 & F-35
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This aircraft formely known as the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) was the winner of a competition between the Boeing X-34 and the Lockheed Martin X-35. The reason given for the X designations was that these projects would test experimental techniques then rush them straight into production, but seeing the usual project development issues I think the X project designations was just budgeting slight of hand. The Lockheed-Martin X-35 won the competion, becoming the F-35, which in short order became the F/A-35. The aircraft will be built initially in 3 types:

  • F-35A - Airforce conventional take off fighter
  • F-35B - Navy/Marine/Royal Navy stovl fighter
  • F-35C - Navy hardened conventional take off fighter

The flyway price at present is a fairly moderate $35 million a copy, but the Air Force in particular is trying to either modify their A model or get a D model inserted in to the program, which would add various features to the models, primarily as a feature cross-over from the F/A-22 which will be built in such limited numbers (because of cost over runs) that the Air Force will not get enough to fill stated needs.

The F-35 will provide some level of stealthy design, and is expected to replace F-16's, Harriers, and F-18's (A's and C's).

X-35B Prototype in Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Annex (Feb 2004)


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