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Why the F-35 is the iPhone of Fighter Aircraft

RealClear Defense // March 13, 2017

The F-35 isn't just better than its predecessors; it's revolutionizing the way the military thinks about fighter aircraft.

To understand just how groundbreaking the F-35 is, you need to think of the aircraft the way you do about the iPhone, Marine Corps Lt. Col. David Berke, the first operational F-35B (the Marine Corps variant) pilot, told Aviation Week’s Check 6 podcast Saturday.

Berke compared the introduction of the F-35 to the introduction of the first iPhone by Steve Jobs. The iPhone single-handedly redefined what we expect our cell phones to do. In turn, the F-35’s capabilities are redefining what a fighter aircraft is expected to do. Like the iPhone, the F-35’s introduction is disruptive, and Berke claims we are only on the cusp of discovering what it might be able to do in the future.

Berke outlined three major differences that put the F-35, and other fifth-generation aircraft (like the F-22), in a league of their own.