Lockheed is designing a special F-35 for an unnamed customer

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WASHINGTON – An ally of the United States wants its version of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Infodefensa. Lockheed Martin has already been given the green light to get to work. In the last week of the year, the United States Department of Defense commissioned the design and development of its version for an undisclosed country. The operation is processed through the so-called Foreign Military Sales Formula [FMS], which involves an agreement between the government.

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

So far, only Israel has its version, called the F-35I Adir, while other international customers of the advanced fighter have acquired the standard model. This is a prerogative that only Tel Aviv has managed to have.

Israel, which in 2018 became the first consumer to test the F-35 in battle, came in 2016 to rethink the already committed purchase of these aircraft due to difficulties in getting the United States to provide the source code of the aircraft so that it can the platform can be modified according to your needs.

There are no more details about the new country that managed to get Washington to agree to provide an individual version. The Indian media Defenseworld emphasizes that this award, involving an unidentified customer, took place just two weeks after the United States showed its readiness to sell the F-35 to the United Arab Emirates. Washington responded after the failure of negotiations announced by the Emirati authorities for this purchase, as a result of the harsh conditions.

United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said his country must ensure, for example, that Israel’s military advantage will not be damaged by this long-running operation, which they are now ready to continue. forward.

Three versions so far

In addition to the Israeli version and waiting to learn the characteristics of the currently developed undiscovered country, the F-35 has three versions, distinguished by the letters A, B, and C. The F-35A, which is the lightest and most agile aircraft of the three, is ready for conventional take-off and landing [CTOL] on common runways.

The F-35B version is one prepared for short takeoffs and vertical landings [STOVL]. In case of need, it can also take off vertically [VTO]. This option replaces the Harrier fighters, such as those used in an older version of the current ones used by Britain for aircraft carriers in the Falklands War and currently used by Spain, deployed by its LHD ship Juan Carlos I.

As for the third version, the so-called F-35C, it is a naval structure, as it is prepared for the action of large aircraft carriers, from where it takes off with catapults and lands in a short space thanks to its stable landing gear and rear hook, with which he catches a brake rope anchored to the ship [Catobar].

750 devices are already in operation

Currently, the F-35 already serves nine countries, driven by 1,585 trained pilots [along with 11,545 maintenance specialists] for the more than 750 in operation, of the 2,500 that the manufacturer predicts will eventually work.

Most of these fighters are manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as assembly plants in Italy and Japan [in 2019, Tokyo revealed that it will no longer manufacture in its country and will continue to receive them from abroad], two of the partners in the international F-35 program. The others are, apart from the USA and Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and Norway. Turkey has joined the group, but disagreements with the United States over the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems prompted Washington to separate it from this largest military program in history in the summer of 2019.

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