F-35: From Design to Delivery

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F-35: From Design to Delivery

Where It All Started 

The F-35 began in Skunk Works® as a 5th Generation concept and developed into a “joint” strike fighter – one platform with three variants to meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Navy. In this never-been-done-before scenario, the world’s most advanced aircraft was born. 

Throughout the aircraft’s development, Lockheed Martin engineers developed 25+ models to document the progression of the aircraft’s design. Below, find a selection of some models showing the inception of what is currently delivering to the fleet. 

The one with removable parts. 
191B/C is a tinker-toy-type model with removable wings and fins to demonstrate the differences between variants. From the beginning, the team was focused on the customer requirements and creating an aircraft to keep them ahead of the threat.
The one that gave us a chance. 
220-2 introduced Lockheed Martin’s shaft-driven lift fan design: first-of-its-kind cutting-edge technology. This innovative design helped cement Lockheed Martin’s choice as one of two companies awarded the chance to create a demonstrator phase of the program proposal. This meant our innovative Skunk Works® team was able to begin crafting the first full-scale version of the jet: the X-35.
The one that was actually two. 
The X-35, the first full-scale working version, and the X-35B are the same aircraft, retrofitted to accomplish the required engineering feats. The X-35B was the first aircraft to ever complete the hat trick in a single mission: 450-foot short takeoff, supersonic flight and a vertical landing.
The one that won. 
Versions 235A, 235B and 235C were developed based on the final operational requirement document from the Joint Program Office. These versions enveloped the requirements necessary for the services to achieve their missions and won the competition. The contract award was announced on a Saturday and by early the next week work began on what would eventually be the production version of the F-35.
The one where we stopped development. 
After preliminary design review, the team realized the projections on the weight of the aircraft and the actual weight were not in sync. The team stopped development for six months to execute a drastic overhaul of the F-35B design. Naturally, weight reductions on the F-35B also benefitted the A and C variants. Through diligence, long hours and dedication, the team designed a quality, streamlined 5th Generation fighter capable of exceeding the demands placed on it by our customers.
The Air Force one. 
240-3 is the first F-35 to come off the Fort Worth, Texas, production line. This F-35A variant, AA-1, was a flight sciences aircraft used to expand the flight envelope, testing the stability and control, high angle of attack, propulsion, loads, dynamic response and store separation of the aircraft.
The current ones. 
Version 240-4 is the post-configuration design that became the production design for all three variants after the STOVL Weight Attack Team implemented their changes. As the world’s most advanced 5th Generation fighter in production, the F-35 is delivering unmatched capability to our customers, allies and partners. The final System Development and Demonstration configuration for all variants is based off this model with minor adjustments.