What is the F-35 aircraft? The F-35 is a high-performance fighter aircraft and an advanced airborne sensor platform, in the hands of militaries that possess the capabilities and knowledge to exploit its potential in data gathering. The F-35 aircraft can enable information control operations, particularly enhancing joint operations. The U.S. Army and Navy have demonstrated that the aircraft can serve as a passive airborne sensor to support both long-range strike systems and missile defenses. In the near future, the Joint Force Commander is likely to integrate aircraft with long-range fires systems, such as the Precision Strike Missile. The aircraft can also function as a front-line sensor for air and missile defense systems, such as the High Altitude Area Defense and Aegis Missile Defense systems, both in the hands of selected American friends and allies.
Countries that possess F-35 aircraft
The United Kingdom currently owns 18 F35B aircraft and has 30 more in preparation. In total, the UK’s F-35 fleet can accommodate up to 138 Lightning aircraft, with 48 of them expected by 2025. Currently, 15 F-35B aircraft are in the Royal Air Force at Marham, with the remaining three in the United States, expected to fly to the UK by the end of this year.
United States of America
The United States is the primary consumer of the aircraft, with plans to purchase 1,762 F-35A aircraft for the U.S. Air Force and 693 F-35B and F-35C aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy.
Italy originally ordered 131 aircraft but reduced the number to 90 in 2012. Among these 90 aircraft, there are 60 F-35A and 30 remaining B aircraft. As of October 2019, 28 aircraft have been delivered, and the remaining 62 are still in production. The aircraft are used by the Italian Air Force and Navy.
In 2015, the Netherlands joined the Lightning program and initially ordered eight F-35A aircraft. The aircraft officially replaced the Dutch Royal Air Force’s F-16 aircraft. So far, nine F-35A aircraft have been delivered to the Netherlands, with four operating at Leeuwarden Air Base and the rest in the United States for training. The country ordered a total of 46 aircraft.
The Royal Australian Air Force will have four squadrons of aircraft and committed to 100 F-35A aircraft, with the first one entering Australian service in 2018. By 2021, it is expected that the first squadron of F-35A aircraft, Squadron No. 3, will begin operational service, with all 72 aircraft expected to be fully operational by 2023.
In 2015, the first two fighter aircraft were delivered to Norway’s Luke Air Force Base in Arizona for pilot training. After nearly two years, in November 2017, F35 aircraft arrived in Norway for permanent deployment at Ørland Air Base. A total of 25 aircraft are currently in operation, with seven of them in the United States. As of 2020, the Norwegian government funded the purchase of 40 out of 52 F35 aircraft, with subsequent approvals on an annual basis.
Republic of Korea
In September 2014, the Republic of Korea signed an acceptance letter with the United States for 40 F35A aircraft. The first A aircraft for the Republic of Korea Air Force was delivered in March 2018, and pilot training began in Arizona at Luke Air Force Base the same spring. In 2019, the aircraft were delivered to Chunju Air Base and entered official service. South Korea has received 13 F35A aircraft out of the originally ordered 40.
Countries awaiting F35 aircraft
Denmark joined the F35 Joint Strike Fighter program in 2002 and contributed to the technical elements of the F35 aircraft. In June 2016, Denmark confirmed plans to purchase 27 F35A aircraft.
In January 2019, Singapore announced its intention to purchase a small number of F35 aircraft for capability assessment before committing to more to replace its fleet of F-16 aircraft. After a year, the U.S. Department of State approved a possible foreign military sale to Singapore for up to 12 F-35B aircraft. Singapore is preparing to purchase four F-35B aircraft, with an option for eight additional aircraft.
In 2018, Belgium chose to replace its F-16 aircraft with aircraft. In total, Belgium is expected to receive 34 F-35A aircraft as part of a deal worth approximately 4.4 billion euros, or about 4.05 billion British pounds.
Poland signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the United States on January 31, 2020, for 32 F-35A aircraft, becoming the tenth NATO member to join the program.
Su-57 vs. F-35 Comparison
The American F-35 stealth aircraft has become the best-selling and most popular fighter aircraft in the global aircraft market due to the lack of competition. However, with the emergence of the Russian fifth-generation Su-57 aircraft for international sales, it has become a strong competitor.
The Russian Sukhoi Su-57 aircraft combines the capabilities of American F-22 and F-35 fighter aircraft but surpasses them in performance. Sukhoi’s chief designers have claimed that the Russian fighter aircraft can accomplish missions for both air and ground targets compared to the American aircraft, which are focused on specific tasks. The F-22, originally designed for air superiority, later realized that it was fundamentally wrong to design the aircraft solely for carrying air-to-air missiles.
Features of the Su-57 aircraft:
The first-stage engine of the Su-57 provides features such as exceptional maneuverability, high power-to-weight ratio, and low visibility. It features an oxygen-free afterburner system in both the main combustion and afterburner chambers.
Advanced control elements, coupled with high-speed performance, make it comparable to the latest Western engine technologies, such as the PW F-135 used in the Lockheed Martin stealth aircraft.
Its high-speed capability allows it to cruise at speeds exceeding the speed of sound without using afterburners, translating into significant fuel efficiency and stealth capabilities.
Features of the aircraft:
The F-35A aircraft is designed to gather, integrate, and distribute more information than any fighter in history, providing operators with a critical advantage over all adversaries. Its processing power, advanced sensors, information fusion, and flexible communication links make the Aircraft an indispensable tool for homeland defense.
The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) fighter is capable of controlling the skies anytime, anywhere.
The Aircraft is an agile, multi-role, high-performance, and multi-mission fighter with stealth capability, unmatched situational awareness, and unprecedented sensor integration.
Both aircraft have their unique strengths and capabilities, and their effectiveness in combat depends on various factors, including the specific mission and the operating environment. The Su-57 serve different strategic and tactical roles, and their performance can vary depending on the circumstances in which they are deployed.