Everything You Need to Know about the F-35C

February 28, 2019

The Department of the Navy has declared Initial Operational Capability with their F-35C fleet. Here is everything you need to know about the F-35C.

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. The F-35C’s stealth enables aviators to evade detection and operate in anti-access, aerial denial environments, improving lethality and survivability.

2. It has the most advanced and comprehensive sensor package of any fighter jet in history. This allows the pilot to see everything in the battlespace with unprecedented situational awareness.

3. It can share its information seamlessly. More than a fighter jet, the F-35 can serve as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, sharing information to all networked air, ground and sea assets in the battlespace. This ensures men and women in uniform can execute their mission and come home safe.

4. 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. The F-35C variant has larger wings and more robust landing gear than the other variants, making 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 weapons stored internally, the F-35C can fly faster and with no drag associated with external tanks and weapons required for legacy jets.


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.

The F-35 is built by thousands of men and women in America and around the world. Lockheed Martin leads the F-35 industry team and the program is managed by the Department of Defense’s F-35 Joint Program Office. More 1,600 suppliers build and sustain the F-35 program in 46 U.S. states and in more than 10 countries.