F-35A Lightning ll on Weapons-Bay Pass Looks Like a Monster Ready to Strike

F-35A Lightning ll weapons bay pass 1 photo
Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Codie Trimble
From the angle this shot was taken, we are treated only with the upper side of the airplane, but on the other side, the weapons-bay of this F-35 Lightning ll lies exposed for all to see and be amazed.
What you’re looking at is a photo of an F-35A Lightning ll deployed with the plane’s dedicated demonstration team. The pic (click to enlarge) was captured earlier this month at the La Crosse Regional Airport in Wisconsin while the plane was conducting a demonstration rehearsal for the Deke Slayton Airfest. Sadly, it's the only one made available by USAF, and was taken from the wrong side of the plane during its weapons-bay pass.

The plane is piloted by team commander Maj. Kristin Wolfe, and it’s the same one we got to admire at the beginning of the month in another imposing shot, as it performed a dedication pass maneuver for the crowds gathered at the Atlanta Air Show.

The goal of the F-35A Lightning ll Demonstration team (part of the 388th Fighter Wing) is, according to the U.S. Air Force (USAF), to showcase the capabilities of the F-35 for both friends and foes.

The plane is designed by Lockheed Martin and was first flown in 2006, but it was only a decade later that it entered service. There are presently three versions of it on the table, namely F-35A (deployed by the USAF), F-35B (the Marine Corps airplane), and the youngest of the bunch, the Navy’s F-35C.

The F-35A takes off in a conventional manner (its siblings can do so in a vertical manner as well) and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 when carrying a full internal payload. Weapons-wise, the fighter can carry a large number of missiles and bombs, but it also comes equipped with a 4-barrel rotary cannon.

Being so young in the skies of the world (the Navy version, for instance, only entered service in 2019), the F-35 Lightning ll didn’t get the chance to really prove itself in combat, so air shows will have to do for the time being.
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Editor's note: This is the only photo of the plane made available by the USAF

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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