The production of defence companies and the volume of their sales in the world increased at a significant rate. The latest study of the Stockholm Peace Research Institute “SIPRI” showed that the American company “Lockheed Martin” remains undisputedly ranked first since 2009 in the list of the 100 largest arms production groups in the world, where its sales volume increased by 5.2% to 47.3 billion dollars and accounted for 11% of the sales of the global arms market, which reached 420 billion dollars in 2018. Because the increase in sales of “Lockheed Martin” is mainly due, according to “SIPRI”, to Selling the F-35 fighter to several countries around the world, many began to ask about this fighter plane, what are its advantages? What are its specifications? How much is it worth?
The “F-35 Lightning II” fighter plane, developed by the American “Lockheed Martin” company, belongs to the latest generation of fighters, which is the fifth generation. It is the most advanced aircraft in the US Armed forces and even the world as observers see it.
Features and specifications
The fifth-generation aircraft whose production began in 2006, are characterized by being stealthy, and they combine the multiple capabilities of the various types of combat aircraft, including offensive and interceptive capabilities, and the ability to provide air coverage for the ground forces, as well as highly advanced electronic systems, and are made of materials that make them a difficult target for monitoring radars, which allows them to accomplish their mission in stealth.
This aircraft has been called the “Joint Strike Fighter” due to its design incorporating the various technologies available in combat aircraft of various types. This fighter aircraft has been designed with a lifespan of up to 50 years, and is expected to continue to be used until 2070, according to Bloomberg Agency. The project to build the F-35 aircraft is the largest military industrial project, and the most expensive in human history.
The total cost of this project is estimated at more than one trillion US dollars, according to many studies and reports. The F-35 aircraft is characterized by its high speed, reaching approximately 2000 kilometers per hour (Mach 1.6), thanks to its advanced engine, and has the advantage of vertical take-off and landing, meaning that it may not need a runway to land or take off.
The multi-role supersonic fighter represents a quantum leap in the ability to dominate air and the ability to exist and survive in hostile air environments, as it contains more advanced sensors than any other model, and can carry missiles that enable it to advance and resolve battles, and it also has the ability to avoid ground air defence systems. The F-35 stealth of all kinds can carry internal and external munitions weighing thousands of kilograms, and the fuel tank in it can accommodate about 18 thousand liters. F-35 has the most advanced electronic warfare weapons, enabling it to identify and track enemy aircraft and disrupt attacks efficiently, in addition to sharing information with naval and land units.
The American fighter has a single cockpit with one seat, and it contributes to creating spatial awareness for the pilot, enabling him to see the airspace at a 360-degrees. The pilot helmet plays an important role in collecting and displaying the necessary information in one panel. The cost of the helmet alone reaches 400 thousand dollars, according to Bloomberg.
The combat system contains a logistical information system that enables the aircraft operator to plan maintenance operations and maintain the systems used throughout the life of the aircraft and its operating systems.
Models and price
“Lockheed Martin” produces 3 models of this multi-purpose stealth fighter. Each model has its own advantages and its own price, according to the website of the fighter “www.F-35.com”. The company has reduced the prices of the fighter models over a period of 4 years since the year 2015 more than 35%.
The company said at the beginning of this year 2020 that it produced 134 F-35 aircraft last year 2019, which is a 47% increase over the previous year 2018, and an increase of 200% over the year 2016, and made it clear that it intends to produce 141 aircraft. During the current year.
“Lockheed Martin” indicated that at the end of last year (2019) it delivered 134 aircraft, including 81 for the US Air Force, 30 for international customers, and 23 aircraft that were sold during foreign military transactions, bringing the number of fighters delivered by the company since the beginning of manufacturing to 491 Aircraft, and now it has 490 aircraft in 21 air bases around the world. The company indicated that it had trained about 975 pilots and 8585 supervisors on operation of this fighter, whose fleet exceeded 240 thousand flying hours.
Ikram Ben dalla (Researcher in Military Affairs)