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Everything You Need to Know about the F-35C

September 11, 2020

1. It brings stealth to the sea. The F-35C is the first and world’s only long-range stealth strike fighter designed and built explicitly for Navy carrier operations. It’s configuration, embedded sensors, internal fuel and weapons capacity, aligned edges, and state of the art manufacturing processes all contribute to the F-35’s unique Very Low Observable stealth performance. This enables pilots to evade enemy detection and operate in anti-access and contested environments, improving lethality and survivability.

2. It has the most advanced and comprehensive sensor suite of any fighter jet in history. Including the Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA) radar, Distributed Aperture System (DAS), Electro Optical Targeting System (EOTS) and Helmet Mounted Display System, this package allows the pilot to see everything in the battlespace with unprecedented situational awareness.

3. It is a Force Multiplier. The F-35 can operate as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset and battle manager, sharing information to all networked ground, sea and air assets in the battlespace. This ensures men and women in uniform can execute their mission and come home safe.

4. It has range and mission persistence.The F-35C carries nearly 20,000 lbs of internal fuel and has a range of greater than 1,200 nm. The enables F-35C pilots to fly further and remain in a desired battlespace longer before refueling is necessary.

5. It has the largest wingspan and most robust landing gear of all F-35 variants. The design of the F-35C’s wings and landing gear make it suitable for catapult launches and fly-in arrestments aboard naval aircraft carriers.

Its wingtips also fold to allow for more room on the carrier’s deck while deployed.

6. It is supersonic. The F-35C can reach speeds of 1.6 Mach (~1,200 mph) even with a full internal weapons load. With its fuel and internal weapons load, the F-35C can fly faster with no drag associated with external tanks and weapons required for legacy fighters. 

7. It can carry internal and external weapons. The F-35C can carry more than 5,000 lbs of internal weapons, or more than 18,000 lbs of combined internal and external weapons. This allows the Navy to operate in stealth when necessary, or increase lethality with additional weapons externally when the air space is permissive.

8. The U.S. Navy is the largest F-35C operator and has plans to procure 273 F-35Cs. Naval Air Station Lemoore is home to the Navy’s Joint Strike Fighter Wing. The U.S. Marine Corps is also acquiring F-35C aircraft along with their F-35BSs.

9. The F-35 is built by thousands of men and women in the United States and around the world.Lockheed Martin leads the F-35 industry team with Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Pratt & Whitney. The program is managed by the Department of Defense’s F-35 Joint Program Office. More than 1,900 suppliers build and sustain the F-35 program in 48 U.S. states and in more than 10 countries.

Learn more about the F-35C.

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