F-35 Lightning II
The F-35 is a stealthy, supersonic, multirole fighter designed to meet the requirements of the U.S. and allied defense forces worldwide for an affordable next generation fighter.
The F-35 Lightning II is a stealthy, supersonic, multirole fighter designed to meet the requirements of the United States and allied defense forces worldwide for an affordable next generation fighter. It will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft currently in the inventories of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied defense forces.
Northrop Grumman is a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led industry team, which is developing and producing three variants. The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B is the short takeoff-vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C is the carrier variant (CV).
The program's hallmarks – affordability, survivability, sustainability and lethality – are achieved through the use of the most modern military aircraft technologies, state-of-the-art production facilities, and a high degree of commonality among the three variants. The team is using advanced manufacturing techniques to enable a unique, high-rate production program.
Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development, demonstration and production of this multirole fighter, including:
- The production of the center fuselage, which forms a significant portion of the aircraft's internal weapons bay and internal fuel capacity
- The design and production of the AN/APG-81 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) fire control radar, which brings unmatched capability to air-to-air and air-to-surface missions, complemented by significant electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions
- The design and production of the AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS), which provides simultaneous modes of situational awareness, infrared search and track, missile warning and navigation not available on any other aircraft
- The design and production of the AN/ASQ-242 Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) avionics suite, which can be dynamically programmed to arm the F-35 pilot with multiple-mission capabilities engineered for seamless transition from one mission phase to the next
- The development of mission systems and mission-planning software
- The development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware
- The management of the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies
About the F-35
With more than 600 aircraft operating from 26 bases and ships around the globe, the F-35 plays a critical role in today's global security environment. More than 1,200 pilots and 10,000 maintainers are trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 350,000 cumulative flight hours. Northrop Grumman is proud to be a part of the international partnership involved in building three variants of the F-35. As a leader in aviation advanced manufacturing and technologies, we are focused on working with our international supplier team to deliver the highest quality products to our customers..
F-35 Program Update
As of February 2021, nine nations have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil, nine services have declared Initial Operational Capability and six services have employed F-35s in combat operations. The United States Air Force deployed the F-35 for 18 consecutive months from April 2019 until October 2020 in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility with hundreds of weapons employments in support of U.S. service members and their allies.
F-35 in the News
F-35 Media Contact