Can you tell these derivative models of the F-35 from the "Lightning II" family?

  According to the report of Flight International on April 16th, the US Navy and Marine Corps successfully completed the first test of the concept of "lightning carrier". Twenty F-35B fighters with short take-off and vertical landing took off from the US Navy "Tripoli" amphibious assault ship to perform fast-paced operations.

  The concept of "Lightning Carrier" was formally put forward in 2016, based on the existing "F-35B vertical takeoff and landing aircraft+amphibious assault ship" model of the US military. The name of "Lightning" in the concept comes from the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, and F-35B is just one of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) models.

  F-35 "Lightning II" Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a single-seat single-engine multi-role fighter and a low-order auxiliary aircraft of F-22. It has strong stealth capability, advanced avionics system and certain supersonic cruise capability, and is mainly used for frontline support, target bombing, air defense interception and other tasks. It is divided into three types: conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL)F-35A, short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL)F-35B and carrier-based (CV)F-35C. Undoubtedly, in the future competition for air superiority, F-35, as one of the world’s advanced fifth-generation aircraft, has a very high photogenic rate. So how do you distinguish them in appearance?


  plane emblem/logo

  The F-35 "Lightning II" Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) was mainly developed by Lockheed Martin of the United States, and eight countries including Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Australia and Canada participated in the development, with a total cost of $276 billion.

  In addition to R&D abroad, South Korea, Japan and Israel also vigorously purchased the F-35 to enhance the overall air combat capability. Therefore, according to the current data, a total of 12 countries have decided to equip the F-35:

  According to the above picture, there is Israel’s Star of David emblem above the wing, which is an F-35A. (Architecture A, called F-35I, shows the F-35A fighter equipped by Israel Air Force. )



  The U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps are equipped with three types of F-35 fighters, which are not a panacea according to their badges. If it is an F-35 equipped by the US military itself, it can be roughly distinguished by the characters in the belly position below the horizontal tail:

  1. Symbol of the United States Air Force (F-35A of the United States Air Force)

  2.NAVY (F-35C of the US Navy)

  3.MARINES (The United States Marine Corps purchased two models, F-35B and F-35C).

  In addition, there are several F-35Cs in the US Navy that also say "MARINES". But what should I do if I can’t see the military emblem or characters from the photo point of view? This uses the "shape resolution method".


  wing span

  Both F-35A and F-35B have a wingspan of 10.7 meters, while F-35C adopts a large wingspan design to reduce the landing speed, and the wingspan is increased to 13.1 meters and can be folded, which is the largest of the three sub-models.


  nose gear

  In order to withstand the impact of the ship, the F-35C has thickened the front landing gear, and changed from the basic single-wheel landing gear to the two-wheel landing gear, and the front landing gear has the unique ejection pull rod of the ejection take-off fighter. The following figure shows F-35A, F-35B and F-35C in turn.


  Landing tail hook

  The landing of the F-35C needs to be stopped, and a repeatedly used stern hook is equipped under the engine. Although the F-35A will also be equipped with crash landing tail hook, it is currently testing the tail hook crash landing, and even if it is installed, it will be one-off.



  The leading edge of the main wing of the F-35C is moved forward to increase the wing area, which leads to the strake wing in both the F-35A and the F-35B, but it is cancelled on the F-35C. The following figure shows F-35A, F-35B and F-35C in turn.



  F-35B is a short takeoff/vertical takeoff and landing type. Due to the special requirements of takeoff and landing mode, the engine of this type adopts a lift fan device. When viewed from the top, the rear of the cockpit is flat, and the upper cover of the lift fan and the cover plate of the auxiliary air inlet will open upward during the takeoff and landing.


  Machine gun

  The F-35A is the only one of the three sub-models, which adopts the built-in gun design and is equipped with a GAU-22/A four-tube 25mm gatling built-in gun. Therefore, there is an obvious protrusion on the front upper part of the left wing of the fuselage, which is a remarkable feature of the A-type aircraft. F-35B and F-35C are not equipped with fixed cannon, so it is enough to mount the cannon pod on the belly line when necessary.


  Verifier, test aircraft and

  Low speed initial production aircraft

  The test aircraft and the initial low-speed production F-35 are usually numbered on the fuselage. For example, before the mass production of the F-35A, the aircraft fuselage numbers AA-01, AF-01 to AF-07 were even directly marked with F-35A, all of which contained "A"; F-35B has BF-01 to BF-04 with "B" in them; F-35C has CF-01 to CF-05 before the first mass-produced CF-06, all with "C".