F-35C JSF USN 1/48
Scale: 1/48 scale model
Wing Span: 8.75 inches
Length: 17.75 inches
The F-35 is a family of single-engine, supersonic, stealth multirole fighters. The second fifth generation fighter to enter US service and the first operational supersonic STOVL stealth fighter, the F-35 emphasizes low observables, advanced avionics and sensor fusion that enable a high level of situational awareness and long range lethality; the USAF considers the aircraft its primary strike fighter for conducting suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) missions, owing to the advanced sensors and mission systems.
(From the top) F-35A of the 33rd FW, F-35B of VMFAT-501 and F-35C of VFA-101 near Eglin AFB, 2014
The F-35 is much heavier than the lightweight fighters it replaces, the lightest variant has an empty weight of 29,300 lb (13,300 kg); much of the weight can be attributed to the internal weapons bays and the extensive avionics carried. It has a wing-tail configuration with two vertical stabilizers canted for stealth. Flight control surfaces include leading-edge flaps, flaperons,[N 7] rudders, and all-moving horizontal tails (stabilators); leading edge root extensions also run forwards to the inlets. The relatively short 35-foot wingspan of the F-35A and F-35B is set by the requirement to fit inside USN amphibious assault ship parking areas and elevators; the F-35C's larger wing is more fuel efficient. The fixed diverterless supersonic inlets (DSI) use a bumped surface to shed the boundary layer from the forebody from the inlet duct; the inlets form a Y-duct for the Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine.
While lacking the raw performance of the larger twin-engine F-22, the F-35 has kinematics competitive with fourth generation fighters such as the F-16 and F/A-18, especially with ordnance mounted; the F-35's internal weapons carriage eliminates drag from external stores. The powerful F135 engine gives good subsonic acceleration and energy, although supersonic performance is limited. The large stabilitors, leading edge extensions and flaps, and canted rudders provide excellent high alpha (angle-of-attack) characteristics, with a trimmed alpha of 50°. Relaxed stability and fly-by-wire controls provide excellent handling qualities and departure resistance. All variants have a design top speed of Mach 1.6, attainable with full internal payload. Having over double the F-16's internal fuel, the F-35 has considerably greater combat radius, while stealth also enables a more efficient mission flight profile.
The F-35 is designed to be less maintenance-intensive than prior stealth aircraft. Compared to older high-maintenance radar-absorbent material (RAM) coatings, the F-35's coatings consist of a fibermat baked into the skin. The flight control system uses electro-hydrostatic actuators rather than traditional hydraulic systems for lower maintenance needs; these controls can be powered by on-board lithium-ion batteries in case of emergency. Structurally, the F-35 drew upon lessons from the F-22; composites comprise 35% of airframe weight, with the majority being bismaleimide and composite epoxy materials. Newer production lots include some structural nanocomposites, such as carbon nanotube-reinforced epoxy. After corrosion issues on the F-22, the F-35 uses a less galvanic corrosion-inducing skin gap filler, and also has fewer gaps in the airframe skin needing filler and better drainage.