Skip to comments.Northrop Grumman unveils fuselage for next U.S. fighter
Posted on 10/27/2007 1:50:36 PM PDT by BenLurkin
PALMDALE - Six years after the contract was first awarded, Northrop Grumman Corp. employees Friday marked another milestone along the path to fielding the nation's next fighter, the F-35 Lightning II. The center fuselage for the first Air Force near-production version of the fighter was unveiled Friday at the company's Palmdale Manufacturing Center.
The fuselage incorporates design changes made during development to decrease weight in the final fighter.
"This is starting a new phase for what will be a very unique fighter capability," said Air Force Maj. Gen. C.R. Davis, program executive officer for the F-35.
The latest - and possibly last - manned fighter for the nation's armed services is envisioned as a truly joint-service fighter, with three variations of the same basic aircraft to meet the needs of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
It also is an international program, with nine countries actively participating in the development and more expected to purchase the aircraft when completed.
The F-35 is expected to replace many other aging aircraft, including the A-10, F-14, F-16 and AV-8B Harrier. In the United Kingdom, it will replace the Harrier aircraft for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
The fuselages for all three versions of the F-35 are manufactured at Northrop's center at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale.
They are then shipped to the Fort Worth, Texas, facility of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the program's prime contractor, for final assembly.
"Today marks a momentous day for Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Lightning II program," said Bobby Williams, F-35 deputy program manager for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. The fuselage is "the first of literally thousands" that will head to Fort Worth to become fighters, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at avpress.com ...
Great pics. Thanks!
The Real Lightning.
I hope the weight loss was enough. Few airplanes have had so much hype to live up to and so many compromises to keep those performance promises from coming true.
Oops. This is better.
That’s a beautiful airframe, indeed. But if the two went head-to-head, I know which one I’d rather be in.
Just taxiing to the end of the runway, it looked dangerous. Like a slithering cobra.
Then, when those Rolls-Royces wound up, there was a throaty buzz all around -- you could feel it inside you -- and, even at six, you knew the thing was truly deadly.
I'd love to have one.
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He was in tanks in the Pacific during WWII.
Aging yes. But the A-10 is timeless.
I doubt that will EVER be able to replace the A-10’s ability.
When I was in the Navy, I was a sonar tech on a destroyer. In those days, each division had a great deal of latitude in decorating said division's spaces aboard the ship.
Our captain, one Commander Louis Colbus charged us with decorating our ASROC launcher. Those of us who were young and impressionable wanted to paint on some Charles Schulz' Peanuts characters. This was likely at the height of Schulz' popularity in the early 1970s. We mocked up some art work and presented it to our division CPO, one Chief Charles I. Craig.
Chief Craig didn't say, "No," he said, "Hell, NO!!!" He added that he wanted our decorations for all the world to see displaying a "skull and cross bones, d--n it!" And, if the "men" in his charge weren't up to the task, he would scare up some women to get the job done.
Some folks have a proper understanding that military things should carry nomenclature to satify the senses and scare the bejeebers out of the bad guys.
Lightning II...now that tells a story.
But the FB-111 turned out to be an excellent penetration bomber once the kinks were worked out of it.
All new aircraft have growing pains.They just make the plane better.IMHO.
Does that means they got it just heavy enough that it will almost become airborne using current engine technology?
Yea, right. That has been parroted for decades. Isn't going to happen.
I think you mean twin supercharged Allison engines.
Powerplant: 2× Allison V-1710-111/113 liquid-cooled turbosupercharged V-12, 1,600 hp (1,194 kW) each
...and that was for the P-38L. The Allison V-12 was probably the most widely used fighter engine throughout the war -- at least in the US Army Air Forces.
I lived in Tucson for many a year, and I had the pleasure of watching the A-10s come and go almost every day.
From what I’ve read about the first gulf war, Iraqi tank crews just wanted to “get right” with their allah when A-10s showed up overhead. They just came down and killed ya, and came back down and kept killing you some more.
If our A-10s are tired and need to be replaced, we need to replace them with another batch of A-10s.
Does it say “kill da wabbit, my arse” somewhere on that beast?
Wow! God bless you sir. You must be one of our most senior members of Free Republic. Would love to talk to you sometime.
True enough, but you have to admit, as good as those Allison V-1710s were...a P-38 with twin Merlins would be a very, very interesting airplane.
I’m an R-2800 Double Wasp guy, myself, but I do love P-38s.
I’m an old ASROC sailor myself but from the 60’s. The first launcher I worked on had a serial # 33.
I hesitated at the engine manufacturer...and guessed wrong.
Enhanced A-10 arrives at Davis-Monthan
A newly modified A-10C Thunderbolt II taxis in during the roll-out ceremony Nov. 29 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The A-10 has been modified with precision engagement technology to create the new and improved A-10C. The enhancements include full integration of sensors, multi-functional color displays and a new hands-on-throttle-and-stick interface. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia Goosic)
The Brits might have put Merlins in their P-38’s — it was the Brits after all that put the RR Merlin in the P51, and that made that fighter a world-beater.
I’m not aware that they did, however...
Friend of mine was based with an Airforce refueling detachment on Midway Island during the early ‘60’s. He said there was a sh- load of Allisons sitting crated near the lagoon. While he was there the base commander ordered them shoved into the lagoon. What a waste! Imagine what a restoration outfit, or an air racer would pay for a mint Allison V12?
Thanks for that heads up about the A-10C. I am as jazzed as the next guy about the new “Fast Movers”, F22 and F35 and such.
You can bet that the “Boots on the Ground” are major fans of the slow moving Wart Hogs!
Saw the Discovery channel “competition” TV show about the Boeing version and this one (Lockheed/Northrup/General Dynamics) F-35: As soon as I saw that puke-ugly lower scoop on the Boeing with his “chin and cheeks” fuselage, I knew this version (very similar to the F-22 in looks and “feel” would win.
Let me see if I've got their heritage right: Republic became Northrup, General Dynamics bought LTV (Ling-Tempco-Vought - who grew up from the Vought Naval fighters), who had bought Convair (builder of out Fort Worth of the B-36 and eventual builder of the F-16), Lockheed-Martin bought out Martin-Marietta, who were created from Martin and (?) Marietta), and then later bought Douglas - Continental out of St Louis (Douglas created the DC line of planes, but who was "continental - the airline?) - except Lockheed-Martin is making the F-22 using Skunk works technology from LA to build the F-22 in Marietta GA using an old Bell Bomber plant that used to make C5's, C-141'a and (still makes) C-130's, Boeing kept their original name, but were trying to get into fighters after being a large-plane builder since the 1920's ....
Actually that would no doubt have been great, but unfortunately the only P-38s that went to the RAF were a few which were delivered without the turbochargers, and they were dogs. They were known as "castrated P-38s" and left such a bad taste that they didn't ever ask for any more. The USAAC didn't have a lot of success with the P-38s in the 8th AF in Britain, even though it did very well in the Med and Pacific theaters. Apparently the much colder conditions in northern Europe caused a lot of problems.
You mean...the Flying Monica?
Perhaps...except the bugs weren’t worked out of the 111 until the 90s (AMP & Pacer Strike), which was just about in time for it to retire!
Not quite - Boeing bought MDC, including the Phantomworks, in STL.
Thanks for the photo. Makes one want to salivate!
There’s something really wrong with that.
Its partly because of their expected longevity that I again predict that the “5th generation F-22 and the 4.5 gen F-35 will be Americas last frontline, pilot-carrying offensive aircraft. Remotely piloted vehicles’ maneuvers arent handicapped by the pilots physiology; their microprocessors need neither oxygen nor G-suits.
Most believe the troops on the ground will still need piloted-craft in support, for the forseeable future, but, at over $200 million per Raptor, and $100 million per JSF, weve spent ourselves out of the air-ace-as-Lancelot-on-horseback age. A pity, because the new planes so pretty, but in any near-future combat, God forbid, they’ll pro’ly just be rammed and destroyed by small swarms of remotely piloted suicide missile/drones.
That looks like it’s designed for scooping up geese.
and La Tolteca, from the tagline, is in Rehoboth, DelAware. el oopso!