Home / TOPICS / Military & Security / There’s nothing like America’s most expensive weapons system ever  

There’s nothing like America’s most expensive weapons system ever  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Amanda Macias

Business Insider

America’s most expensive weapons system ever built is on track for “initial combat use” by September 2016.

Business Insider recently toured Lockheed Martin’s massive production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where the three F-35 Lightning II variant aircrafts are designed and manufactured.

The $400 billion and counting F-35 program has so far delivered 140 of the anticipated 2,443 jets to the US Department of Defense and five aircraft to foreign military buyers.

Here is a look at the unique capabilities of the F-35 variant aircraft:

f35 skitchLockheed Martin/Amanda Macias/Business Insider

The lightest of the jets is the F-35A:

one more timeLockheed Martin/Amanda Macias/Business Insider

The F-35B is in the middle at 14.3 feet tall and weighs 32,300 pounds.

The F-35C is the tallest and the heaviest:

new skitch again :(Lockheed Martin/Amanda Macias/Business Insider

The F-35A and F-35B have the same wingspan and nearly the same length:

wingspan againLockheed Martin/Amanda Macias/Business InsiderF-35A

Designed for the Navy, the F-35C features longer wings to create drag for the jet to slowly land on aircraft carriers:

f35 wingsLockheed Martin/Amanda Macias/Business Insider

The F-35C has another unique wing design:

upwards skitch f35Lockheed Martin/Amanda Macias/Business Insider

The F-35A is the only variant aircraft that has an internal gun; aside from that, the jets have similar designs:

skitch gun f35Lockheed Martin/Amanda Macias/Business Insider