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.
With so many unanswered F-35 Lightning II questions that a computer simulation couldn’t solve it was deemed necessary to build two full-scale models. These fiberglass and aluminum models were completed two years before the first test F-35 flew. Since stealth was the key factor to the F-35’s construction it was necessary to test the aircraft’s antennae in different locations and varying angles. The F-35C model painted similar to the VF-103 Jolly Rogers was placed high on a pole to test if the larger wings and slight airframe difference would impact the antennas.