F-35 Life Cycle

5th Generation Technology at Every Stage

The F-35 brings advanced technology to every stage of the aircraft life cycle. From production techniques to testing methodologies and from pilot and maintainer training to sustaining the global fleet, the Lightning II is the culmination of decades of experience in fighter technology.


With components from global aerospace and defense industry leaders and a common production line for all three variants, the F-35 is the first international 5th Generation fighter. Production costs are declining and will continue to do so as the ramp rate increases to full rate production.

Software Development

Underpinning the F-35’s unrivaled capabilities is more than 8 million lines of software code – more than four times the amount of the world’s first 5th Generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor.


Integrated Test Force teams have consistently accomplished more test points, flights and flight hours each year to prove capability and introduce new software blocks to the fleet.


As a single seat fighter, the F-35 relies on advanced training techniques to prepare pilots for first flight. Three training centers across the United States host the latest courseware, electronic classrooms, simulators, flight events and event-based maintenance training.


The F-35 was designed with sustainment in mind to control cost at the individual aircraft, squadron, service and global fleet levels.