F-35 Fast Facts

Get to Know the F-35

The F-35 Lightning II is the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter – providing unmatched capabilities to military forces around the world, securing high-tech, high-skill jobs for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, and elevating international security by allowing for more integrated coalition operations.


Designed with the entire battle space in mind, the F-35 is the most flexible, technologically sophisticated multirole fighter ever built. By combining advanced stealth designed in from the beginning with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment, the 5th Generation F-35 delivers innovative capabilities to meet security needs for nations across the world.


Based on its advanced capabilities, the F-35 will enable pilots to be six to eight times more effective in air-to-air missions, air-to-ground missions and surveillance missions. The F-35’s sensors and communications systems enable pilots to securely share information with allied commanders at sea, in the air or on the ground for more cohesive coalition operations. These capabilities ensure that the F-35 is first to enter the battle space, has a 360-degree view of the battlefield and is first to see adversaries and take action – allowing our pilots to carry out their missions and return home safely.

Over the past three years, the F-35 program has met major milestones, completed complicated testing, verified performance through flight tests and delivered more than 90 jets – including the first five international aircraft. Airplanes are flying daily, verifying the aerodynamic and mission systems performance, completing night flights and refueling, and testing the unique aspects of the three different variants. In addition, mission systems testing and pilot training are progressing on schedule.  Some of the major highlights of the past few years include:

With three U.S. services, eight international partners and two foreign military sales, the F-35 is a truly global program, fostering international cooperation and allowing for enhanced interoperability between allies. The global nature of the program also results in significant cost savings for all involved. By 2019, the cost of the F-35 will be comparable to the cost of legacy aircraft.

The F-35 does more than just elevate international security – it also strengthens the global economy by providing jobs, industrial partnerships and technology benefits to people and companies across the world. In the years ahead, the F-35 program will create more jobs than any other Department of Defense initiative this decade.

In the U.S. alone, the F-35 program supports direct and indirect jobs for 125,000 people and provides work for more than 1,400 suppliers in 46 states. 

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F-35 Fast Facts