Two of These Four F-35s Are Not American, Can You Spot Them?

Unlike its older and no longer in production sibling, the F-22, the “most advanced fighter jet in the world,” the F-35, is not an airborne weapons platform exclusive to the United States. No less than 13 allied nations field F-35s for their daily missions, and probably more will be joining the ranks in the not so distant future.
Two American and two Dutch F-35s flying together 16 photos
Photo: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Rachel Maxwell
Two American and two Dutch F-35s flying togetherF-35A Lightning IIs on an elephant walkF-35A Lightning II with the 495th Fighter SquadronF-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
The select group of nations using F-35s include the usual American allies, countries like the UK, Italy, France, Israel, and Germany, but also nations one doesn’t usually associate with impressive armies, like say The Netherlands.

What you probably didn’t know is that The Netherlands was the second international partner to get the F-35, after Israel, and that happened all the way back in 2012, when the first Dutch F-35, AN-1, took to the sky in Texas. The European nation is also a solid contributor to the F35 program, supplying the Americans making it with composites, bonded assemblies, and aircraft wiring.

In the end, the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will end up owning 46 such aircraft, as it seeks to “increase the nation’s capability and capacity to engage in allied operations.”

The Dutch got their hands on their first F-35 back in 2019, and they are already hard at work populating the second squadron with the airplane. The ones that are already in service go out and play from time to time with international partners.

The four F-35s we have in the main photo of this piece may look identical, but that’s not exactly the case. Two are deployed with the U.S. Air Force (USAF), while the other two belong to the RNLAF.

Saying who is who is not easy, of course, but there are those telltale clues on the tails of the aircraft. The ones sporting LN are USAF planes (deployed with the 48th Fighter Wing), while the ones marked with simpler designations are Dutch.

The photo was snapped back in February, as the planes were conducting bilateral air-to-air training exercises over Europe.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)

Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-35s.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
Daniel Patrascu profile photo

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.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories