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U.S.

A IR F ORCE C OMMUNICATION W AYPOINTS

F-35 LIGHTNING II
Background: The Air Force continues to advance future combat capability by fielding the F-35A Lightning II. This 5th
generation fighter provides unprecedented Global Precision Attack capability against current and emerging targets and threats
while also complementing our Air Superiority fleet. The F-35 program is a multiservice, multinational effort managed by the
F-35 Joint Program Office. The USAF, USN, USMC, our allies and coalition partners plan to procure a total of more than 3,000
F-35s, dramatically increasing interoperability between the United States and other F-35 nations.

THEMES & MESSAGES

Lethal, Survivable

Multi-role Precision Attack

Combined lethality/survivability make the


F-35 our platform of choice for operations
in a highly-contested threat environment.

F-35A multi-role capabilities are


optimized for Global Precision Attack
while complementing our air superiority
The F-35s state-of-the-art sensor fusion, fleet.
networked interoperability, and broad
Multi-role capabilities allow the F-35
array of advanced air-to-air and air-toto perform missions which
surface munitions enables unmatched
traditionally required numerous
lethality for decades.
specialized aircraft.

Global Interoperability
The F-35 will be the backbone of future
joint and combined air operations,
enabling critical interoperability.
When pilots from different nations fly
the same platform they talk the same
language. Successful joint and
combined operations are assured well
into the future through the F-35s
foundational interoperability.

Our 4th generation fleet is the oldest in


The precision attack capabilities of
our services history and is reaching the
the F-35 substantially increase our
Spanning three U.S. services, eight
limit of modernization that can provide
ability to hold at risk any adversary
international partners and several
the lethality and survivability required to
target -fostering deterrence of any
foreign military sales customers, the
deter and defeat future adversaries.
group or nation who wishes us harm.
F-35 fosters international cooperation.
The F-35s exceptional survivability is
The complimentary air superiority
achieved through a combination of lowcapabilities of the F-35 will augment
our Air Superiority fleet and ensure
observable technologies, advanced
we continue to own the skies over
electronic attack and electronic
protection and shared situational
future battlefields.
awareness.

Facts

Milestones

The AF program of record is 1,763


F-35As

Air Force F-35A have accumulated


more than 18,500 flight hours to date

The Air Force has received more than


80 F-35As to date

The 56th Fighter Wing (Luke AFB) is


building their second Lightning II
squadron to meet training demand

More than 2,000 maintenance


personnel trained to date
More than 200 F-35 joint and partner
pilots trained to date

The 388th Fighter Wing (Hill AFB)


accepted six operational F-35As, IOC
planned sometime in mid/late CY2016

Questions & Answers


Q1: The helmet costs $400,000 per unit. Why is it so expensive, and what does it do?
A1: The combat effective value gained is unprecedented. As the pilots primary interface with
the aircraft, and primary flight instrument, the helmet affords a level of advanced situational
awareness and fused avionics that make the F-35 so lethal and survivable in combat and its
intuitively easy to use.
The helmet is much more than a helmet, the helmet is a work space. It's
an interpretation of the battle space, it's situational awareness. - CSAF
Q2. Why is the Air Force cutting aircraft when you need to be ramping up?
A2. First, we use the term "deferral" versus "cutting" of production aircraft. The Air Force
still plans to acquire a total of 1763 F-35As. Within the current fiscal environment the Air
Force has to prioritize its funds in the interest of the entire force. By deferring procurement
of some aircraft now, we can pay near term bills that will allow us to remain the preeminent
Air Force in the world. The F-35 is still one of the top procurement priorities for the Air
Force, and the tough choice to reduce the amount purchased in the near term is strictly a
budget-driven decision.

The F-35 program provides financial


efficiencies and industrial base
benefits to the U.S., partner nations
and Foreign Military Sales customers
through economies of scale and a
global sustainment focus.

Just as the synergy between man and


machine during the Korean War allowed us to
dominate the skies in MiG Alley, a similar
marriage of Airmen and technology is in the
future. And Im speaking here specifically about
the F-35 Lightning. This will help to guarantee
America and her allies are able to gain and
maintain air superiority in the future.

Deborah Lee James


Secretary of the Air Force

Out there where people fight and die for


real, if a 4th generation aircraft meets a 5th
generation aircraft, the 4th generation aircraft
may be more [cost-] efficient; its also dead.

General Mark A. Welsh III


Air Force Chief of Staff

Current as of 12 February 2016