In Depth

The Warfighter’s Edge: 3 Ways the F-35 Supports the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy

February 23, 2018

The global security environment is rapidly increasing in complexity and volatility. The Department of Defense recently released the 2018 National Defense Strategy to focus on preserving ‘peace through strength’ by prioritizing investments in more lethal, affordable and agile technologies that enable U.S. forces to work in tandem with allies around the world.Here are three ways the F-35 supports, aligns and plays an integral role in the DoD’s National Defense Strategy, which calls for a more lethal force, strengthened global alliances and reformed business practices for greater affordability.

1. Build a More Lethal Joint Force

The F-35 transforms the way our men and women in uniform conduct operations. The air system is designed with the entire battlespace in mind, bringing new flexibility and capability to the warfighter. The F-35 is the most lethal, survivable and reliable fighter aircraft in the world, giving our pilots an advantage against any adversary and enabling them to execute their mission and come home safe.

With its stealth capabilities, the F-35 can enter hostile territory undetected while carrying up to 4700 lbs of ordnance in its internal weapons bays. Once air dominance is established, the F-35 can re-enter the battlespace with external weapons, increasing the weapons capacity to over 18,000 lbs. for greater lethality. More than weapons capacity, the F-35 is a powerful force multiplier with an advanced sensor and communications suite. Its interoperability allows seamless information exchanges with sub-surface, surface, and air and space platforms, making all networked allies more connected, more lethal and more survivable.

2. Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships

The F-35 Program is the first fighter aircraft in history to be designed from the very beginning with global partnerships in mind. The program includes nine partner countries, three Foreign Military Sales customers and more than 100 international suppliers in over 11 countries worldwide. The F-35 program modernizes the defense capabilities of participating nations, enables coalition-based fighting, while strengthening economic, industrial and security ties with key allies around the globe.

3. Reform the Business Practices for Greater Performance and Affordability

The F-35 program is the cornerstone of the U.S. aerospace industrial base and on the forefront of performance and affordability improvement initiatives that will pay dividends across DoD acquisition. The program’s blueprint for affordability initiative, sustainment cost war room, production efficiency initiatives and supplier programs have reduced costs and improved performance significantly across the program. The F-35’s projected service life extends to 2070, and to ensure the aircraft remains ahead of adversaries, the enterprise will continually deliver enhanced capability to the warfighter with a focus on affordability and speed. The F-35 Joint Program Office’s Continuous Capability, Development and Delivery (C2D2) framework for Follow on Modernization will deliver incremental modernization and enhancements to the entire F-35 Air System on a continuous and agile timeline, consistent with commercial best practices.