The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Lockheed Martin is the prime F-35 contractor, with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

The aircraft has three main variants: the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A, the short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B, and the carrier-based (CV/CATOBAR) F-35C.


The F-35 first flew in 2006 and entered service with the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B in July 2015, followed by the U.S. Air Force F-35A in August 2016 and the U.S. Navy F-35C in February 2019.[1][2][3] The aircraft was first used in combat in 2018 by the Israeli Air Force. The U.S. plans to buy 2,456 F-35s through 2044, which will represent the bulk of the crewed tactical aviation of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps for several decades; the aircraft is planned to be a cornerstone of NATO and U.S.-allied air power and to operate until 2070

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

Facts & Figures


National origin


First flight



Primary users


Number built

Developed from

Multirole fighter

United States

Lockheed Martin

15 December 2006 (F-35A). 

  • F-35B: 31 July 2015 (USMC)
  • F-35A: 2 August 2016 (USAF)
  • F-35C: 28 February 2019 (USN)

In production

  • United States Air Force
  • United States Marine Corps
  • United States Navy
  • Royal Dutch Air Force
  • RAF
  • Belgian Air Force
  • ...


975+ as of October 2023

Lockheed Martin X-35