F-35 Managing the Battlespace

The F-35 Lightning II is an advanced, 5th Generation fighter jet. From stealth to sensor fusion, electronic attack capabilities to international interoperability, several aspects of the F-35 combine to make it the most powerful fighter jet in operation today.


One of the most unique capabilities of the F-35 is its stealth – or ability to operate undetected by enemy radar. Stealth allows the F-35 to work in wider ranges of the battlespace and go where other aircraft can not. The F-35’s stealth capabilities are built into the aircraft from stage one, through a combination of unique airframe designs, advanced materials, and cutting-edge systems and sensors. Other platforms that claim to be stealthy simply are not – stealth must be built in from the time the first piece of the airframe is constructed. Learn more about the F-35’s stealth.

Awareness of the Airspace

Situational awareness can be defined as a pilot’s knowledge of the other aircraft in the battlespace, ally or enemy, along with the intelligence about potential targets – or enemies that can target them – on the ground or at sea. A combination of sensors, targeting systems, and radars provides the F-35 pilot with a comprehensive view of the battlespace. The pilot can then share this information with ally pilots in range, making the entire fighting force stronger.

In complement to these capabilities, the helmet of the F-35 provides the pilot the ability to actually see through the plane, providing unobstructed views of the airspace 360 degrees around the jet. And in contrast to a 4th Generation cockpit that has sensors and systems that a pilot must digest and comprehend on their own, the F-35’s 5th Generation sensor fusion capabilities provide the pilot with a real-time, comprehensive picture of the battlespace. This allows pilots to make well-informed decisions on the spot.

Sustaining the F-35

The F-35 was designed with sustainment in mind. With more than 3,000 aircraft to be fielded in locations across the globe over the coming decades, a robust information infrastructure had to be put in place to maintain and organize immense amounts of maintenance and logistics data. Enter ALIS, the Autonomic Logistics Information System. ALIS provides F-35 operators with real-time information about the aircraft’s maintenance needs to keep the F-35s around the world in the air every day. Learn more about the F-35’s sustainment system.

Partners for Global Security

Since its inception, the F-35 program has relied on strong international partnerships to design, develop and now field the world’s most advanced 5th Generation fighter. These partnerships will only continue to grow as services around the world send their F-35s into service, side-by-side with other partner’s F-35s. The F-35 is ideally suited for coalition operations. It has the ability to support allied air fleets to achieve mission success and survivability using a combination of stealth, electronic attack, information sharing, and other measures not part of any other aircraft mission package. In addition, research indicates that adding more F-35s in a high-threat environment is far more effective than adding more single-mission, electronic attack support aircraft.