F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
The F-35B is a stealth fighter that is very advanced and can be used in many different ways. It combines the characteristics of several other aircraft (Source).
It has high-tech sensors and computer systems that allow it to share information with allies and give the pilot a unique view of the situation.
The F-35B can fly horizontally like most aircraft, but it can also land vertically like a helicopter.
In order for the aircraft to be stealthy, the radar return signal must be as weak as possible. As a result, trade-offs must be considered in the design of the aircraft. To that end, the F-35B has a V-shaped tail, serrated-edge access doors, and a new decoy system that weakens the radar return signal.
What's the difference between an F-35 and an F-35B?
The F-35 family consists of three different single-seat aircraft. The F-35A, F-35B, and F-35C all share the same advanced avionics, but have different takeoff and landing capabilities.
The F-35A is designed for conventional takeoffs, while the F-35B is capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings. What really sets the F-35B apart from the other variants is its much shorter runway requirement for takeoff and landing (Source).
The F-35 family consists of two main variants: the F-35A and the VSTOL (vertical short takeoff and landing) F-35B. Although both are part of the F-35 program, they have different fuselages and flight capabilities.
The main difference between the two jets is how agile they are. The F-35A is more agile, while the F-35B is less agile because it is bigger and heavier because it can take off and land vertically. Other differences stem from the B version's ability to incorporate a lift fan into its design (Source).
F-35: fifth-generation stealthy jet developed by Lockheed Martin
It has variants including the F-35A, B, and C and comes with several features including supersonic speed capability, advanced sensors, radio frequency system, and a helmet-mounted display. Its armament includes six external weapon stations and air-to-air missiles such as AIM-9X and AIM-132.
It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney F135 low bypass augmented turbofan engine with 43K lbf thrust. The aircraft's maintenance and logistics system, known as ALIS, has also undergone several upgrades over the years.
The F-35 is designed to require less maintenance than previous stealth aircraft with its pre-baked Fibermat Radar Absorbent Material (RAM) coatings.
Testing of the aircraft began in 2006, after initial engine runs were completed in September of that year, and culminated in the first combat deployment of an F-35B by the Dambusters Squadron in June 2019. Despite these successes, there have been safety and performance issues that have led to costly redesigns, delays and fleet groundings.
The USMC declared initial operational capability for the F-35B in July 2015, while Australia unveiled its first two F-35s at the 2017 Avalon Airshow, with 26 planned for delivery in 2021.
Israel also declared its F-35 operationally capable in December 2017, while Canada opted out of its own variant, known as the CF-35, as the government decided not to pursue further modifications.