RUSI Defence SystemsVOLUME 20members only

A Fourth F-35 Variant?


With an inherently high thrust-to-weight ratio and modified digital flight control system, an F-35 variant could operate off the Queen Elizabeth class carriers with fewer penalties to the baseline F-35A design than the current F-35B and hence fewer performance trade-offs

The UK is due to start operating it’s F-35B fleet from RAF Marham this year. The UK F-35 order has fluctuated between the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant and the F-35C carrier vessel (CV) variant. It seems that that the UK would really have preferred the F-35C because of its longer range (nominally 800 nm versus 700 nm for the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant and only 500 nm for the F-35B STOVL variant) but has reluctantly

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