posted on May, 1 2013 @ 04:24 PM
reply to post by AFewGoodWomen
There is no F-35E, and none are anywhere near operational. They carry weapons for flight testing. They need them for airflow, and separation tests.
The F-35 only comes in three variants, the A which is a conventional take off and landing for the Air Force, the B which is a short take off, vertical
landing variant for the Marines, and the C, which is the largest, another conventional take off and landing variant for the Navy. The only E models
that the US flies are the F-15E Strike Eagle for the Air Force, and the F/A-18E Super Hornet for the Navy.
Aircraft variants are a logical progression. For example, the F-15. The original variant was the A, a single seat fighter. Then came the B, which
was originally called the TF-15A. The B was a two seat variant of the A, that removed some of the equipment behind the pilot seat, and added a second
set of controls and ejection seat. Later came the C, another single seat fighter, but with upgraded avionics, and other changes made to make it more
effective. The D was the two seat version of that. Which leads us to the Strike Eagle. Obviously the next letter was "E", which is what the Strike
Eagle is, the F-15E. If they were to make another variant, with significant changes to either the fighter, or the Strike Eagle variant, it would be
That being said, where's the F-35D? And how did the F-35E get at least four years ahead of every other variant, since the ones that are currently in
service don't even have an active radar system in some cases, and can't carry weapons. The software for that upgrade MIGHT be ready by next year, but
IOC for the F-35 program has been pushed back repeatedly, as far back as potentially 2019 (this includes weapons systems). There is no point in them
developing an "E" model, and having it fully operational, when the rest of the program is ridiculously overbudget, behind schedule, and has put
Lockheed Martin's reputation on the line.
edit on 5/1/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)