The Lockheed F-35 is an advanced stealth fifth generation fighter combining speed and superb agility. There are three variants; F-35A, B and C. The F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) and has four internal weapons stations in two weapons bays plus three optional external weapons stations. The F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant while the F-35C is a CV (Carrier Variant). The F-35 will replace the USAF A-10 and F-16, the F/A-18 for the USN and the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the USMC.
In September 2018 VMFA-211 was deployed aboard the U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex. On the 28th of the month an F-35B carried out a strike against Afghan Taliban. This marked the first time a U.S. F-35 was used in combat when it delivered a precision- guided bomb. The aircraft wore the name Lt. Col. Chris “Otis” Raible on the side under the cockpit to honor the former commander of VMFA-211 killed in Afghanistan in 2012. Later in 2018 mission markings were applied to F-35B 169415’s front landing gear door.