Newest US fighter aircraft receives a name with a heritage

Newest US fighter aircraft receives a name with a heritage

The newest fighter aircraft in the US armed forces, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter now has a name: the Lightning II, named after the famed WWII fighter with the signature twin-boomed tail.

This is a very important aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force. It will replace the Air Force’s F-16 Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolts,  earlier versions of the Navy’s F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets (and fly alongside the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet) and the already departed A-6 Intruder, the US Marines’ AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18 Hornets, and the British Navy’s and Air Force’s Sea Harriers and Tornados.

The diverse requirements mean there will be a diversity of Lightning IIs, including the carrier-capable F-35C, the conventional F-35A, and the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B. In the USAF, it will fly alongside the F-22 air superiority fighter which is replacing the F-15 Eagle.

(Yes, I know this isn’t my usual Church stuff, but I was once an aerospace engineering major in Navy ROTC preparing to become a naval aviator and my fascination for fast flight has never left so bear with me.)

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli