F-35A Lightning IIs Show Off Frozen Runway Skills Over in Chilly Alaska

The F-35 Lightning II is one of the very few fifth-generation fighter aircraft currently in operation. Not only that, but it’s probably the most widespread of this select group that includes just the American F-22 Raptor (no longer in production), the Chinese Chengdu J-20, and the Russian Sukhoi Su-57.
F-35A Lightning IIs at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska 13 photos
Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais
F-35A Lightning II at Thunder and Lightning Over ArizonaF-35A Lightning II on vertical ascentF-35 Lightning buzzing the CN TowerF-35A Lighting IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 LightningF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 Lightning cruising subsonic into the sunsetF-35A Lightning II demo team schedule
Technically speaking, America’s military is not nearly done rolling out the full completement of F-35s it needs. When it comes to the conventional takeoff and landing variant developed for the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the F-35A, the plan is to have a lot more of them in the air by the end of next year.

The 355th Fighter Squadron, first created in 1942, is one of the units that will receive more F-35s over the coming months. The unit is part of the 354th Fighter Wing, based at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, which is slotted to get no less than 54 such planes by the end of next year.

You can see three of them going down the frozen runway of the said base, single file, in a photo captured earlier this month and recently made public by the USAF. These three are seen taxing on the runway, in from of a small crowd of cargo planes, “upon initial delivery” to the said base.

The F-35A is a single-seater fighter jet powered by a single Pratt & Whitney turbofan engine capable of developing 43,000 lbf of thrust with the afterburner burning hot. It is slower than some other American military aircraft, reaching a top speed of Mach 1.6, but its stealth capabilities more than make up for the difference.

At the time of writing, there are a total of about 730 F-35s in operation, deployed by America, but also by about 16 of its allied nations, including Australia, Italy, and Israel.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-35s.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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