The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the next generation combat plane made by Lockheed Martin and being sized up by United States military operations.
“I’ve flown a lot of the Navy’s tactical jets. F-14’s, all the F-18 series and most recently the F-35,” Rick “Slash” Crecelius, who is deputy director for Navy F-35C Fleet Integration Office, said.
There are three models of the F-35. The A-model- which is used by the Army. The B which is used by U.S. Marines and the Brits and Italians own a few. Then the F-35 C which is U.S. Navy only.
“It is truly the best tactical airplane in the world and will be for years and decades to come,” Crecelius said.
Crecelius works at the Pentagon with his experience as a pilot integrating the new F-35 C’s into the Navy. The plan is to purchase about 340 of the new planes to begin.
“The F-35’s eventually will get to where we have two F-35 squadrons in each of the carrier air wings that embark on the carrier,” Crecelius said.
The cost is about $97 million per plane.
The F-35 uses cutting edge technology. The pilot wears a $500,000 helmet and using cameras that he can see through his visor it can see through any obstacles. So just looking over his shoulder using cameras he can see what’s around him.
With the cost comes benefits such as advanced weapon systems, a payload kept inside, radar that can pick an enemy out miles away before they realize you’re even there, and quick takeoffs and landings.
David McKay got to hop into a simulator to see the experience. Just like a video game, the controls are super sensitive to every move.
“What I want you to do is hold that above the ship until you see this dashed line bisect the ship,” Graham “Boss” Cleveland with the F-35 C Integration Office said.
While still in testing, the U.S. Navy is hoping to have the new planes on the aircraft carriers ready for operations soon.
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