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F-35 Lightning
equipment / Aircraft

F-35 Lightning

Providing the punch of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, this stealth fighter provides air superiority and enhanced combat capabilities with advanced technology.

F-35 Lightning

3D visualisation of F-35 Lightning jet


Three F-35 Lightning jets line-up on the deck of an aircraft carrier

21st Century fighter jet

Known simply as the ‘Lightning’ in British service, the F-35 model is the short take off/vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the fighter jet that is designed to operate from short-field bases and air-capable ships – such as the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class of aircraft carriers.
F-35 Lightning jet takes off using an aircraft carriers ramp

Swiftly into action

The Lightning’s short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities mean that it can be rapidly launched from the flight deck of the carriers via the ‘ski-jump’ ramp. For landing, the jet orientates its engine downward to hover and is stabilised by a large fan installed behind the cockpit that pulls air from above and forces it underneath.
F-35 Lightning jet carrying out vertical landing

Designed to be invisible

As stealth is a key aspect of the F-35’s design, its radar cross-section (which determines how detectable the aircraft is) is minimised through the alignment of edges, serration of skin panels, the masking of the engine face and turbine, and the use of radar-absorbent materials.

About the crew

All of the information that pilots need to complete their missions – including airspeed, altitude, targeting info and warnings – is projected on the visor of their helmet.
Advanced aircrafts

Outstanding technology

The front of the Royal Navy's F-35 Lightning jet

Cutting-edge technology

The F-35 has been designed from the ground up to prioritise low-observability
The Lightning combines advanced sensors and mission systems with low observable technology, or ‘stealth’, which enables it to operate undetected in hostile airspace. 

Its integrated sensors, sensor fusion and data linking provide the pilot with unprecedented situational awareness. The pilot is able to share information gathered by the jet with other platforms using secure data links, and/or use the info to employ weapons or electronic means.
Two F-35 Lightning jets in flight

Aerial arsenal

The F-35 Lightning conceals the bulk of its weaponry internally until times of need
To maintain stealth, the F-35 features two internal weapons bays, each with two weapons stations that can carry a combination of air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, anti-ship missiles and bombs.

In addition, they carry a 25mm, four-barrel rotary cannon that is used mainly as a show of force or when collateral damage should be kept to a minimum.

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