Tuesday 17 July 2018, 03:32 PM
F-35A creates a buzz at Paris Air Show
By Anjali Ojha | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 6/23/2017 4:19:47 PM
F-35A creates a buzz at Paris Air Show

Paris: Two F-35A fighter aircraft built by Lockheed Martin of the US, created quite a buzz among the visitors to the week-long 52nd Paris Air Show, otherwise known largely as an event to showcase commercial airplanes. Lockheed Martin's pair of F-35A -- a single seat, single engine, all-weather, multi-role fighter jet -- were put on static display as well as flown from the US Air Force's Hill airbase in Utah. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform both ground attack and air defence missions. As the F-35's fly-past at the air show came, the roar of its engines seemed to pull almost everyone out into the open in sweltering heat at the Le-Bourget airport here.

The fighter jet was the cynosure of all eyes as its F135 engine, an afterburning turbofan and said to be the most advanced in the world, created a thrust to make the jet take off into the skies albeit with a short runway. The stealth jet climbed up vertically, a manoeuvre done to showcase the power of its engine. It then performed a series of manoeuvres, turning at around 50 degrees angle and even flying upside down for around 10 seconds before it completed a loop and recovered its position.

It was a demonstration of the aircraft's capability to target its nose in the chosen direction, also called high alpha, or a high angle of attack that in a combat situation is a key strength for a fighter jet. The pilot then showcased a slow speed pass, demonstrating the aircraft's control. In a display that lasted nearly eight minutes, the F-35A performed vertical flights, high alpha loops at 50 degrees, peddle turns and 360-degree turns. One of the unique features of the stealth fighter is the 360-degree view it affords the pilot through a special helmet, designed specifically to fit each pilot based on measurements taken through laser, and allows infrared vision around the aircraft through six cameras on the jet during day as well as night.

Lockheed Martin chief test pilot Allan Norman said: "It is the easiest fighter (plane) to fly. Its controls and capabilities to take care of itself makes it one of the safest, one of the most survivable and lethal fighter planes." The F-35 has three main models: F-35A that is conventional take-off and landing, F-35B with a short take-off and vertical landing, and F-35C which is a carrier-based catapult assisted take-off barrier arrested recovery.

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