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AIAA AVIATION Forum
June 25-29, 2018, Atlanta, Georgia
2018 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference
F-35 Air Vehicle Technology Overview
Chris Wiegand,1 Bruce A. Bullick,2 Jeffrey A. Catt,3 Jeffrey W. Hamstra,4 Greg P. Walker,5 and Steve Wurth6
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, TX, 76109, United States of America
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II incorporates many significant technological enhancements derived from predecessor development programs. The X-35 concept demonstrator program incorporated some that were deemed critical to establish the technical credibility and readiness to enter the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program. Key among them were the elements of the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing propulsion system using the revolutionary shaft-driven LiftFan® system. However, due to X- 35 schedule constraints and technical risks, the incorporation of some technologies was deferred to the SDD program. This paper provides insight into several of the key air vehicle and propulsion systems technologies selected for incorporation into the F-35. It describes the transition from several highly successful technology development projects to their incorporation into the production aircraft.
I. Introduction
THE F-35 Lightning II is a true 5th Generation trivariant, multiservice air system. It provides outstanding fighter class aerodynamic performance, supersonic speed, all-aspect stealth with weapons, and highly integrated and networked avionics. The F-35 aircraft features many technological enhancements in air vehicle and propulsion subsystems derived from predecessor programs. These include the Subsystems Integration Technology (SUIT) studies [1-7], Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program, Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL’s) Advanced Compact Inlet Systems (ACIS) program, Vehicle Integration Technology Planning Studies (VITPS) studies [8, 9], More-Electric Aircraft (MEA) studies [10], and Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)/Integrated Subsystems Technology (J/IST) demonstration program [11-20]. Additionally, numerous independent research and development (IRAD) and contract research and development (CRAD) projects were completed that formed a part of the F-35 design basis [21-36]. Many of these technological enhancements were not incorporated into the X-35 demonstrator due to schedule constraints to complete the flyable demonstrator aircraft. They were also postponed due to the results of a technical risk assessment that made them undesirable candidates for the X-35. Instead, the full development and integration of these technologies were deferred for incorporation during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase (later known as the System Development and Demonstration [SDD] program). This resulted in the final F-35 design configuration.
Enormous efforts from these less well-known predecessor projects produced many of the significant technical achievements that provided necessary technical maturity and risk reduction. This allowed Lockheed Martin to proceed with them confidently in the EMD proposal. The production F-35 incorporates a highly integrated air vehicle subsystems architecture that reduces overall aircraft size and takeoff gross weight. It does so by replacing the federated, individual subsystems used in other legacy aircraft. Low observable (LO) technologies are incorporated into the engine inlet and exhaust nozzle, and the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion system, with its revolutionary integrated flight propulsion controls, provides unprecedented capabilities. The system represents a revolutionary step-increase in vertical lift, compared to predecessor aircraft. Its fault-tolerant controls are seamlessly integrated with the aircraft control laws, minimizing pilot workload across the entire flight envelope from hover to supersonic flight [36].
1 Systems Engineering Senior Staff Specialist, F-35 Power and Thermal Management System, 1 Lockheed Blvd. 2 Director, F-35 Air Vehicle, 1 Lockheed Blvd.
3 Systems Engineering Senior Manager, F-35 Vehicle Sciences and Systems, 1 Lockheed Blvd.
4 Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow, F-35 Air Vehicle, 1 Lockheed Blvd.
5 Systems Engineering Senior Manager, F-35 Propulsion and Flight Controls, 1 Lockheed Blvd. 6 Lockheed Martin Fellow, F-35 Propulsion and Flight Controls, 1 Lockheed Blvd.
Approved for public release 5/8/18, JSF18-365
1
10.2514/6.2018-3368
Copyright © 2018 by Lockheed Martin Corporation. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission.

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