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This article was Originally Published on Apr 19, 2006 in Volume: 5  Issue: 1

Lockheed Martin F-35 officially named ‘Lightning II’

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The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been officially named “Lightning II.” The company says the name change echoes those of two formidable fighters from the past: the World War II-era Lockheed P-38 Lightning and the mid-1050s Lightning supersonic jet, built by English Electric. “The F-35 Lightning II will carry on the legacy of two of the greatest and most capable fighter aircraft of all time,” said Ralph D. Heath, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. “Just as the P-38 and the British Lightning were at the top of the class during their day, the F-35 will redefine multi-role fighter capability in the 21st century.” The F-35, produced by Lockheed Martin along with partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, is intended to replace the current generation of strike fighters, particularly the vertical take off and landing (VTOL) Harrier jump jets, the AV-8 Harrier II (U.S.), Harrier GR7/9 (UK) and the Sea Harrier (UK). It would also replace the conventional A-10 Thunderbolt II, F/A-18 Hornet and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Partners for the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase include: the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia. The F-35 aircraft is expected to be ready for service in 2011, and is scheduled to begin replacing the USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II’s and F-16’s in 2011. It is also scheduled to begin replacing the USMC AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18s in 2012.

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