Multi-Mission Capability for Emerging Global Threats
The F-35 was designed with the entire battle space in mind. The ability of the F-35 to meet the needs of international military forces makes the F-35 the most flexible, technologically sophisticated multirole fighter ever.
The F-35's low observable stealth allows it to safely enter areas without being seen by radars that 4th generation fighters cannot evade. The combination of the stealth features, the F-35’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology, and the aircraft’s ability to carry weapons internally means the F-35 can engage ground targets at long ranges without detection and use precision weapons to successfully complete air-to-ground missions. In this configuration, the F-35 will enter the battlespace first, clearing the way for legacy coalition forces.
Integrated sensors, information and weapons systems—combined with speed and maneuverability— are critical to the F-35’s air superiority. Compared to 5th generation fighters like the F-35 and F-22, 4th generation aircraft have a higher radar cross-section, which means they can more easily be seen by enemy fighters. In combat, 4th gen aircraft and hostile nations have an equal opportunity to strike against one another. A 5th generation fighter has a lower radar cross-section to allow the F-35 pilot to see the other aircraft first and take action.
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
Again drawing on the advantage of stealth and integrated sensors, the F-35 can fly critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions with more sophisticated data capture than any previous fighter aircraft. It has the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history. Its next-generation avionics and sensor fusion give the pilot real-time access to battlefield information with 360-degree coverage.
Command and Control
The F-35's communication, sensors and information systems enable it to draw on information from around the world - and deliver that information directly to the battlefield. Embedded, network-enabled information capture allows distribution of information to enhance and enable other platforms. Information gathered by F-35 sensors can be securely shared with commanders at sea, in the air or on the ground, providing a high-fidelity view of ongoing operations.
Advanced electronic warfare (EW) capabilities enable the F-35 to locate and track enemy forces, jam radio frequencies and disrupt attacks with unparalleled precision. All three variants of the F-35 carry active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radars with sophisticated electronic attack capabilities, including false targets, network attack, advanced jamming and algorithm-packed data streams. This system allows the F-35 to reach well-defended targets and suppress enemy radars that threaten the F-35.