• Review: F-35 Lightning II

    Review: F-35 Lightning II

    By Dylan Brown

    Introduction

    The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a single seat, fifth generation multirole fighter, with capabilities ranging from ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense with stealth capability. The F-35 was the product of the Joint Strike Fighter program, primarily funded by the United States, with additional funding from the UK and other allies. Its first flight was in December of 2006, but the aircraft won't be officially deployed until 2016.

    The Lightning II consists of three different variants. The F-35A is a conventional takeoff and landing version. This is the smallest and lightest of them all, and will be deployed by the U.S. Air Force. The F-35B is for short takeoffs and vertical landings, and will be used primarily by the Marines. The last version, the F-35C, is a carrier based variant, with larger wings and stronger landing gear for use aboard aircraft carriers by the Navy.

       

    Elements of the plane's design have been taken from the F-22, but it employs a different low maintenance stealth technology, using a structural fiber mat instead of the metallic paint that previous aircraft, such as the F-22 use. Even though the F-35 is smaller than the F-22, it has a slightly larger radar cross-section, equivalent to a metal golf ball, and not the metal marble of the F-22. By its weight aspect, the plane more closely resembles the F-105 Thunderchief, but because of the thrust to weight ratio with its modern engine, it more closely resembles the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

    F-35A Specifications:

    • Length: 51', Wingspan: 35' - 43' for F-35C
    • 28,000 lb of thrust, 43,000 lb with afterburner
    • Maximum speed Mach 1.67+ (1,283 mph)
    • Range of 1200 nm for A, 900 for B, 1400 for C
    • 60,000' ceiling
    • 25mm 4-barreled Gatling cannon
    • 6 external hardpoints on the wings and two internal bays with two pylons each; can carry a combined weapons payload of 18,000 lb

    The cockpit of the aircraft is designed for a 360 degree situational awareness, with a helmet-mounted display replacing a conventional HUD. The primary flight display is an 8" by 20" panoramic screen, with plans to integrate speech-recognition software for more effective use. The F-35 also has the ability to report its own health back to the command base. With these three different variants and large amount of future technology being incorporated into the design, the F-35 will be the backbone of tactical aviation for the decades to come.

    The Download

    The F-35 aircraft package by Dino Cattaneo is available for free on FlightSim.Com (here) and is titled FSX Acceleration Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

    Installation

    The installation is pretty straight-forward. You copy the three aircraft variant folders and paste them into the FSX simobjects folder, and then copy the effect files and paste them into the FSX effects folder. The Acceleration expansion pack is required for use, and the Microsoft C++ redistributable package (x86) is required for the STOVL functionality to work correctly.

       

    Included in this add-on is the F-35A, B and C flight models, along with textures for the US Air Force, Marine Corps, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Air Force, and some system developmental versions. This aircraft also uses high-definition textures (4096 x 4096), and a change in the fsx.cfg file is needed for their use, which is explained in the documentation. The installed aircraft took up 550 Mb of space.


    15 Comments
    1. cattaneo's Avatar
      cattaneo -
      Good day,

      Thanks for your review and appreciation of my work.
      Please note that with the lasest upgrade, the aicraft has also an autherntic sound package - and a further update is in the works to make the MFD interface much closer to the real deal and to provide variable loadouts (orndance will appear/disappear depending on the weight assigned to each station)...

      Best Regards

      Dino Cattaneo
    1. Howellerman's Avatar
      Howellerman -
      Mister Cattaneo,

      I too enjoy your F-35, as well as your F-14.

      It appears your model flies better than the real thing!

      See http://www.alternet.org/fail-400-bil...cloudy-weather

      The author of the article, William Boardman, already acknowledged he screwed the cost per jet @ $120B. Should be $120M. But the F-35 program seems to have a number of issues...

      JKH
    1. Howellerman's Avatar
      Howellerman -
      Greetings, Mister Cattaneo,

      I too enjoy your F-35, as well as your F-14. Very impressive aircraft!

      It appears your model flies better than the real thing!

      See http://www.alternet.org/fail-400-bil...cloudy-weather

      The author of the article, William Boardman, already acknowledged he screwed the cost per jet @ $120B. Should be $120M. But the F-35 program seems to have a number of real issues...

      JKH
    1. jansil's Avatar
      jansil -
      Dino, I really love your F-35 and F-14! Many thanks for creating these aircrafts for others to enjoy!

      Dylan, many thanks for your informative review!

      /J
    1. adavidf03's Avatar
      adavidf03 -
      This freeware model looks better and flys better than 95% of the payware aircraft out there. Once I read through the extremely well-done documentation, and did a custom configuration of my joystick buttons, I was amazed at how well it works. Before long I was hovering just over passing cars on the Golden Gate Bridge with ease. Many, many thanks Dino !!!
    1. Jimster's Avatar
      Jimster -
      Tank You Dino. Its awsome
    1. jamminjames's Avatar
      jamminjames -
      Love it but cannot get autopilot to work?
    1. renespaan's Avatar
      renespaan -
      Excellent work there, Dino!
    1. jamminjames's Avatar
      jamminjames -
      Could someone tell me how to use autopilot?
    1. Astroreaper's Avatar
      Astroreaper -
      Quote Originally Posted by Howellerman View Post
      Mister Cattaneo,

      I too enjoy your F-35, as well as your F-14.

      It appears your model flies better than the real thing!

      See http://www.alternet.org/fail-400-bil...cloudy-weather

      The author of the article, William Boardman, already acknowledged he screwed the cost per jet @ $120B. Should be $120M. But the F-35 program seems to have a number of issues...

      JKH
      I think the clue in this article is in the headline bemoaning the 'Military Industrial Complex'. They have probably picked up on Boeing noise, and political interference from lobbyists trying to bring the program down.

      The facts are, that the full software suite hasn't been finished yet and there are about 8 million lines of code to be written checked and signed off before the sensors have full all weather modelling in the onboard computer.

      It's not that it won't ever be able to fly in cloudy weather, it's just not signed off for all weathers in this testing phase. In time it'll be the most capable aircraft of it's type in all weathers due to it's extreme sensory networking capabilities and data uplinks in real time, within a Network Centric Warfare environment.

      The doubters are frankly armchair nobodies who only have an opinion and little else.
    1. mav316's Avatar
      mav316 -
      I just saw this aircraft in a video I was watching for Aerosoft sakitos airport scenery! Awesome aircraft looks much better than the original aircraft!
    1. philig's Avatar
      philig -
      Hi,

      I really enjoy the STOVL MODE!!! One of the best fighters ever.
    1. Stormy's Avatar
      Stormy -
      Dino's F-35 is the only one out there worth it's salt. Masterfully done.
    1. carss's Avatar
      carss -
      Quote Originally Posted by Howellerman View Post
      Greetings, Mister Cattaneo,

      I too enjoy your F-35, as well as your F-14. Very impressive aircraft!

      It appears your model flies better than the real thing!

      See http://www.alternet.org/fail-400-bil...cloudy-weather

      The author of the article, William Boardman, already acknowledged he screwed the cost per jet @ $120B. Should be $120M. But the F-35 program seems to have a number of real issues...

      JKH
      I must tell you that the F-35 is not a fail, its actually a great aircraft but since its being looked up only through its cost point of view they consider it fail.
    1. tomhatle's Avatar