Yes, the F-35 surely is one controversial stealth fighter, even after countless successful milestones met and nations lining up all over the world to purchase it. Yes, the program will cost over $1 trillion over its entire multi-decade operational service lifespan.
But there is a clear reason for that. The plan is to build roughly 2,500 of these stealth fighters, making them the backbone of the U.S. Military, and many other air forces around the planet. The era of the fourth-generation fighter is over, and the F-35 fills a very clear need for the U.S. and its allies.
I, for one, have been on the record for several years now supporting this critical program. We don’t live in a world anymore where U.S. air power will always fight unopposed in the sky. We are used to – and have been spoiled by, in a sense – seeing U.S. ωαяplanes fight enemies like ISIS where we can dominate and attack at will from above.
That won’t always be the ωαя we fight, in fact, that era is coming to an end. In a world where great power comPetition is the reality for U.S. ωαяfighters, Russia and China will surely ensure that their air-defense capabilities are robust and dαngerous. The ωαя in Ukraine indeed proves that point.
With that said, here is what I would like to call a visual tour that is all things F-35. While we can surely debate like reasonable people the capabilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, no one can argue against its sheer beauty.
During my decade-plus career in journalism and in national security think tanks, I have edited and written countless pieces on this ωαяplane. Here is a collection of 20 great photos that I have always been inspired by that detail the sophistication and technological savvy that has made this stealth fighter truly special.